Bell an interesting pickup for Chiefs

By Steve Sell
October 16, 2020

The rich get richer.

Le’Veon Bell, who was compiling a Hall of Fame career for the Pittsburgh Steelers before heading to football purgatory in New York to play for the woebegone Jets, signed today with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bell, who recently was mutually released by the Jets in just his second season, also had Buffalo as well as the Miami Dolphins as the teams on his wish list. Surprisingly the Chicago Bears, who could really use help at running back, were not on his list.

Bell was simply remarkable during his Pittsburgh tenure, but then sat out 2018 in a contract dispute and never played for the Steelers again. He was part of a brilliant run of the “Killer Bs” along with Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown as they lit up the sky with offensive fireworks.

Bell was known for his incredible patience and change-of-pace running style. What made him in the talk for the NFL’s best back also was his ability to catch the ball.

Obviously the losing in New York took a toll on him mentally, as he ranked among the worst backs in the NFL statistically during his brief stint. But he also was hurt this year and you just wonder how healthy he is.

And we just don’t know after all these years if the wear and tear in Pittsburgh has turned him into a shot runner. The shelf life of an NFL running back is brief, the position that has the shortest career expectancy.

The bigger question is, will Bell make that big of an impact? Clyde Edwards-Helaire has tailed a bit since his spectacular season-opening game, but no question he’s a talent. Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson have sparkled in brief backup stints and don’t forget Damien Williams is likely to return next year after opting out due to COVID concerns with his mother. To boot, former Raider DeAndre Washington was elevated last week from the practice squad.

Bell, however, fits perfectly in the Chiefs’ scheme. His ability to catch the ball makes him so valuable and even though the Chiefs’ offensive line has struggled somewhat, it’s still a thrill-a-minute offense that is capable of putting up 40 every night out, whereas the Jets are the NFL’s laughingstock as every player on the team probably wants out of there.

Bell is not the knucklehead emotional case that Antonio Brown was, but he’s also had his share of somewhat turbulent moments off the field.

Kansas City, though, has been known to be a soft landing place for malcontents. This is the franchise that has been home for such luminaries as the late Chester McGlockton, Dewayne Bowe, Larry Johnson and Marcus Peters, all of whom gave Chiefs fans consternation with some of their antics.

If Bell is of right mind and attitude, he will be another toy in the already burgeoning toy box. I’m not sure how the money works out, but I’m guessing the Jets are picking up quite a bit of the tab. Andy Reid has been a somewhat Father Flanigan figure during his career and has a way of getting players with questionable character to toe the line for the Chiefs, except maybe for Peters. He belonged in the Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon class of crazies, though he’s reportedly been a model citizen in Baltimore.

Bell needs to come in and just be one of 53 guys on the roster and not expect special treatment. This could be a real boon for the Chiefs if he can return to his Steelers glory form.