Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Le’Veon Bell made headlines over the weekend after he took shots at his former Head Coach, Andy Reid, in an Instagram post.
“I’ll never play for Andy Reid again… I’d retire first,” said Bell.
These comments come after the three-time Pro Bowler signed with the Chiefs on a one-year deal last October after the New York Jets had released him from his contract. Bell seemingly filled a need at running back for the Chiefs, but only received 63 carries in nine games, including two in the entire postseason. He ran for 254 yards and scored two touchdowns.
The exact source of Bell’s frustration is unknown, although he has not been publicly happy since the early days in Pittsburgh, where he burned that bridge by holding out for the 2018 season and signing with the Jets in 2019. As we know, his situation did not improve in New York; then-Head Coach Adam Gase never wanted Bell there in the first place and did not give him many chances to make a noticeable impact on ball games. NY suffered all the way through the 2019 and 2020 seasons, finishing a combined 9-23.
Bell apologized on Twitter Sunday for publicly voicing his dismay with Andy Reid, though he stated that his feelings are unlikely to change.
“I’ll admit that’s somethin I could’ve and should’ve kept to myself & I apologize about that and that only… but I don’t regret what I said, because that’s how I feel…” Bell posted on Twitter.
Le’Veon then clarified that he did not have a problem with the Chiefs organization or any particular player and that he enjoyed his short stint in Kansas City. He did not, however, disclose any particular details or conversations that led to his discontent with Reid.
“so you can love me or hate me, I’m gonna be fine regardless … I’m just giving you a small version from my point of view on why I said what I said,” Bell followed up on Twitter.
As far as the public eye can see, no teams have offered the former second-round pick a contract heading into the 2022 season. Given the lack of interest and recent productivity, Bell may have to accept that he is now a rotational back, at least for the time being. Most teams in the NFL use a committee of running backs in their attack anyway, with the Titans, Panthers and Vikings being the obvious exceptions to the rule.
It has been a serious fall from grace for Le’Veon, who rushed for over 1,200 yards in three of his first five seasons and scored a total of 42 touchdowns. Bell made First-Team All-Pro in 2014 and 2017 and Second-Team All-Pro in 2016 for his efforts and was considered by many to be the best running back in the league. His patient style of diagnosing the defense and waiting to charge through the correct hole made him hard to nab behind the line of scrimmage, regardless of how long the play took to develop.
With the Chiefs fresh off of back-to-back AFC regular-season and postseason titles, two Super Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl victory, there will not be any love lost between Bell and Reid. “Big Red” has proven that he can win in multiple locations while Bell’s resume speaks for itself. Their relationship is expected to dissolve, and Bell will be a mere afterthought in Mahomes-town.
There is no indication where Bell will end up, or where his frustration came from in the first place— but with his habits of spilling the beans on social media, this story may continue to develop over the coming days.
Bell is in an unfavorable spot moving forward, having destroyed relationships with three different teams. He is a quickly aging back with mileage on his legs, an injury history, and a tendency to find himself in controversy. His position is similar to that of former Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley, who was the most exciting back in the league a couple of years ago, but now looks like a mere shell of himself due to knees that have been described as “arthritic.”
Bell can still contribute to a team in spurts, but he was shelved by one of the greatest offensive minds in football for a reason. Now comes the difficult task of accepting that he is not the player that he once was, and his actions have not helped his reputation within the league.
Looking ahead, the Chiefs will look to avenge their Super Bowl loss, while Bell needs to find a team willing to meet his salary and expectations, if there is one out there.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.