Le'Veon Bell Ready for Fresh Start with Kansas City Chiefs

Joe Andrews

Running back Le’Veon Bell joined the New York Jets a year and a half ago, hoping to spark a potential fast-paced rebuild with the consistently struggling organization.

For reasons Bell hasn't discussed publicly, the plan didn’t work out. On October 15, Bell went from the worst team in the AFC to the conference's Super Bowl favorite when he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, two days after he was released from his four-year $52.5 million deal with the Jets.

“This is really a relief,” Bell told reporters during his first presser with the Chiefs on Wednesday. “Coming here, I don’t really feel pressured about anything. I just want to come here and play football. People are allowing me to do that. I feel like I’m in a great spot, great place and I’m eager. I’m ready to roll.”

Bell joined the Chiefs in practice for the first time on Wednesday, sparking steps toward a debut with the third NFL organization of his seven-season career.

The former All-Pro running back has not been a true "backup" in any of his 79 career appearances between the Jets and his first team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. That will likely change when he takes his first snap as a Chief, potentially against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Bell said he’s OK with the role of backing up rooking running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, an arrangement that could reignite his career.

“I played at a high level for so long,” Bell said. "I had two years [with the Jets] where it has not been at a high level and people kind of look at it like that. So I wanted to get here, get my feet back under me, get in a good offense, get the ball when I can [and] not have too much pressure on me. Just play football — I think coming here will give me the opportunity to do that.”

In New York, Bell primarily ran the ball downhill, averaging 3.22 yards per carry in 2019 and 3.36 yards per run during his two games with the Jets this year.

In Kansas City, Bell said he's looking forward to the opportunity to run the ball in a variety of ways with motions, reverses and misdirections from head coach Andy Reid’s playbook.

Bell may also become a target within the Chiefs’ passing game, something quarterback Patrick Mahomes looks forward to.

“Obviously he’s a mismatch coming out of the backfield,” Mahomes said. “The way he is able to run routes, the way he is able to split out and basically be another receiver out there is pretty special. He’s going to get a lot of matchups he hasn’t had recently with a lot of linebackers on him. I’m sure he’s pretty excited about that.” 

On Wednesday, Reid didn't commit to playing Bell against the Broncos on Sunday, but Bell said he’s absorbing the playbook while he looks to establish a role in the offense.

Even then, Bell said he isn’t worried about his snap count as he works to rebuild his identity in Kansas City.

“I know there’s probably no limit to this offense and what it can do,” Bell said. “I just want to continue to grow and keep learning. We’ll see where it goes.”

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