Running back Le’Veon Bell didn’t last long on the free-agent market after being released by the New York Jets.
The Kansas City Chiefs are signing Bell to a one-year deal, the NFL Network reported Thursday evening. The Chiefs later tweeted, “Welcome to Chiefs Kingdom, Le’Veon Bell!”
Terms with the 28-year-old former Pittsburgh Steelers star were not disclosed.
Bell becomes another explosive weapon for Chiefs head coach Andy Reid to incorporate in the offense.
Bell joins rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson and DeAndre Washington in the Chiefs’ backfield.
Edwards-Helaire, the team’s first-round pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, is the current starter, but there’s little doubt who projects as the lead rusher.
While Bell’s time with the Jets didn’t go well since he joined them in 2019, it wasn’t long ago that Bell was one of the NFL’s elite running backs as a two-time All-Pro selection and three-time Pro Bowler with the Steelers.
From 2013 to 2017 in Pittsburgh, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Bell tormented opponents with 5,336 yards rushing, 2,660 yards receiving and 42 total touchdowns (35 rushing) before he sat out the 2018 season in a contract dispute.
Despite being regarded as one of the NFL’s top all-around running backs, Bell was miscast with the Jets and gained just 264 yards rushing in 17 games before his release Monday night.
Nevertheless, it’s clear how Bell’s new teammate and quarterback Patrick Mahomes thinks of the running back’s talent.
“Obviously, a tremendous player,” Mahomes said Thursday. “Someone that can do it all,. someone that can run the ball.”
The Chiefs signaled their desire to bolster the backfield in the wake of Damien Williams electing to opt out of the 2020 regular season because of COVID-19. Before Week 1, the team previously expressed a level of interest in Adrian Peterson, as previously reported by The Star, before Peterson signed with the Detroit Lions.
The presence of Bell gives the Chiefs a luxury to now scale back Edwards-Helaire’s workload in his rookie season. Edwards-Helaire currently leads the team in rushing with 344 yards, but hasn’t topped 100 yards rushing in a game since the season opener.
Bell won’t be eligible to play in Week 6 because of strict COVID-19 protocols, which include testing for up to six days before he’s cleared to join the team.
The timeline, however, means the Chiefs should have Bell available to play in Week 7 against the Denver Broncos to set up a spicy matchup against the Jets in Week 8 at Arrowhead Stadium.