Le’Veon Bell says he was ‘mean’ during Steelers contract stalemate, but wants to retire in Pittsburgh

It’s been more than five years since Le’Veon Bell last played in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform, and that distance allowed for a lot of thought during the former Pro Bowl running back’s recent appearance on a podcast.

Speaking to the Steel Here podcast in an episode posted on Friday, Bell made a number of wild confessions about his time in the NFL, which appears to be almost over as he pursues a boxing career. He didn’t appear in the NFL at all last season after sharing 2021 with the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Most surprising was Bell, now 31, saying he never wanted to leave the Steelersbut that he mostly regretted it after realizing what he sacrificed to maximize his guaranteed money during contract negotiations:

“I didn’t want to leave Pittsburgh, because at the end of the day, that’s where I was. That’s where I got drafted. Especially after going to different teams and seeing how it is. , it’s like when the team has their guy , you’re their guy, I was the guy from Pittsburgh.

“Now I see this thing as ‘Bro.’ that was kinda petty… The guaranteed stuff at first, I’m like, ‘Damn, could I really have just eaten [the money]? Yeah, I probably could have.”

Bell’s final season on the court for the Steelers came in 2017, when he earned his third career Pro Bowl honors while playing on the franchise tag. The Steelers opted to re-mark him as a franchise for 2018, which led to Bell refusing to sign the required deal and sitting out the entire season while seeking a high-priced extension.

Once Pittsburgh declined to mark Bell for 2019, he was a free agent and reportedly seeking the richest running back contract in NFL history. He didn’t understand this, landing instead with the New York Jets on a four-year, $52.5 million contract with $35 million guaranteed.

Le’Veon Bell slams Adam Gase (again), says he smoked weed before games

You could say the start of Bell’s downfall came when he didn’t sign on the dotted line for the Steelers, but it didn’t come later than his first meeting with the Steelers head coach. Then-Jets Adam Gase, who Bell infamously battled with during a Jets tenure. it only lasted a season and a half before the team cut it. As you can imagine, Bell still not a fan of Gase:

“Head coaches make a huge difference. As soon as I get to New York I find out it’s like the first week… Bro the team wasn’t that great don’t get me wrong but I feel like if the coach [Mike] Tomlin was coaching this team, we win at least nine games. It’s to the point where [quarterback] Sam Darnold doesn’t know the line guards because he’s so confused about our offense because the coach confuses him.

Although Gase was clearly to blame for many of the Jets’ shortcomings, Bell’s later career did little to convince the public that his talents had been wasted. He rushed for 355 yards and four touchdowns in his last 17 games with the Kansas City Chiefs, Ravens and Bucs.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 02: Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers attends SiriusXM at Super Bowl LII Radio Row at Mall of America on February 2, 2018 in Bloomington, Minnesota.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Le’Veon Bell has some regrets about the way he handled negotiations with the Steelers. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Bell also admitted that he would smoke marijuana before playing gamesa habit in which he was probably not alone among the players in the league:

“Thinking back, that’s what I did. When I was playing football, I was smoking, bro. Even before games, I was smoking and I was going to run for 150, two [touchdowns].”

Le’Veon Bell wants to retire a Steeler

Even though his career with the Steelers ended in a difficult way, Bell is apparently still nostalgic for his time in Pittsburgh and would like to play in another preseason game as a Steeler before officially hanging up his cleats:

“I never really officially retired. The day I retire is going to be with Pittsburgh. I’m going to try to retire with Pittsburgh. But before I do that, I might be like, hey bro, let me take a few races during pre-season so I can show you all.”

The only question is whether the feeling is mutual, both with the fans and with the Steelers organization. Time heals all wounds, however, and the Steelers can hardly say they regret his departure at this point.

Leave a Comment