- The Baltimore Ravens have waived former Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell.
- Bell signed with the Ravens in early September and appeared in five games.
- Bell will become a free agent if he goes unclaimed by another team.
Hard to believe that just a few years ago Le’Veon Bell was one of the best running backs in the NFL. He played five years with the Pittsburgh Steelers totalling 5,282 yards–third best in the NFL during this stretch–and made the Pro Bowl in three of those seasons. That was before an ill advised decision to sit out the 2018 season in an attempt to force a new contract. Since then, he’s played with three teams in three seasons (New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore) totaling just 1,193 yards. Bell is once again unemployed after the Baltimore Ravens waived him following a 10 week stint that began on the practice squad. If he is unclaimed by another team he’ll become a free agent.
The fact that Bell was a non-factor on a Baltimore team that lost three running backs to season ending injuries before the start of the season doesn’t bode well for his future. Gus Edwards, Justice Hill and J.K. Dobbins all went down in training camp leaving Baltimore with just two running backs on the depth chart at the time. The fact that they had any interest in Bell underscored the ‘desperation mode’ they were in and the situation has only improved slightly throughout the regular season. Ravens’ running backs have combined for just 705 yards rushing which ranks 23rd in the league.
Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman are the top two running backs on the depth chart and Bell got little action as the third man in the mix. Murray has missed the past three games and is listed as ‘Questionable’ for Sunday’s game against the Bears at Chicago. Some sources have suggested that the timing of Bell’s release indicates that Murray could be nearing a return. BYU rookie Ty’son Williams has moved into the third spot on the depth chart and the Ravens have Nate McCrary on the practice squad. Despite the lack of consistent production from their running backs, Bell really couldn’t find a role on a team desperate for rushing yardage. He averaged just 2.7 yards per carry from a total of 83 yards on 31 rushes with a pair of touchdowns. He ran for 48 yards in Week 9 against the Vikings but never put up more than 18 yards in his other four game appearances.
Unlike his previous stops in New York and Kansas City, by most accounts Bell wasn’t a ‘head case’ in Baltimore. To the contrary, by most accounts he was a well liked teammate that gave a good account of himself. The fact that the Ravens are hoping to re-sign him to the practice squad at some point this season suggests that his attitude wasn’t an issue. It does, however, give a stark reminder to how far his stock has sunk since the first five years of his career in Pittsburgh. Bell did post a Tweet displaying uncharacteristic class and humility in thanking the Ravens for the opportunity.
this hurts, but it’s been a blessing to be here to say the least, i’ve enjoyed every second of this short period & gotta whole new meaning of what this city is like & it’s a great place to be 🖤💜 I appreciate Eric Decasta & John Harbaugh for the opportunity to be called an Raven
Hard to believe, but Bell is just 29 years old but despite his relative youth he could be at the end of the road in terms of his NFL career. Last month, there were reports that the Ravens had received a number of trade inquiries about nonspecific members of ‘their current group of running backs’. The trade deadline passed without any transactions involving Baltimore’s running backs. Unlikely that the interest was focused on Bell since at the time he had only 11 rushing yards on the season. This was before Latavius Murray’s recent injuries and both he and Devonta Williams likely attracted some interest. For now, the Baltimore practice squad could be the best opportunity for Bell unless he was interested in trying to revive his career in the Canadian Football League (CFL).