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Former Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell Has ‘A Lot to Prove’ after Release by Jets

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Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is a free agent just 19 months after signing a four-year free agent contract with the New York Jets.

The Jets reportedly released Bell on Tuesday after being unable to find a trading partner for the disgruntled running back, who had requested an exit from New York.

New York will eat the remainder of his over $15 million salary this season, plus have another $4 million in dead cap money for the 2021 season.

The 28-year-old Bell has played in just two of the Jets’ first four games and rushed a total of 19 times for 74 yards, a 3.9 yards per carry average. He has also caught three passes for 39 yards.

Bell refused to speak with the New York media after the Jets lost to fall to 0-5 on Sunday. He’ll now be free to sign with whatever team he likes, something that should make him an attractive option in a league that has already seen high-profile backs Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Tarik Cohen, Dalvin Cook, Austin Ekeler, Philip Lindsay, Christian McCaffrey, Marlon Mack and Sony Michel suffer injuries in the early part of the season.

There has been some speculation that Bell might enjoy a return to Pittsburgh, where he played for five seasons after being drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Michigan State.

But the Steelers have a fairly full running backs room with Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels and rookie Anthony McFarland, Jr. working in behind starter James Conner. It’s also not clear if any bad feelings between parties remain after Bell held out the entire 2018 season rather than sign the Steelers’ franchise tender.

NFL

Mic Drop: Hating Tom Brady is Simply Jealousy

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Do you hate Tom Brady? If you answer yes to that question, ask yourself why you hate Tom Brady. Mike Asti explains why it’s time for football fans to just stop hating Tom Brady and realize that their hatred is simply rooted in jealousy for the greatest quarterback of all-time.

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NFL

Le’Veon Bell Doesn’t Regret Sitting Out 2018 Season with Steelers

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Le’Veon Bell doesn’t regret the path he took to leave the Pittsburgh Steelers, he told reporters on Tuesday.

It seems to have worked out pretty well for Bell, who will play in Super Bowl LV this Sunday, the first Super Bowl of his career, in his second season after signing a contract that took him away from Pittsburgh.

Bell sat out the entire 2018 season after refusing to sign the Steelers’ second consecutive franchise tender. Instead, he waiting for free agency and signed a four-year contract with the New York Jets worth a guaranteed $35 million.

A year and a half into that contract, the contract wasn’t working out for either party, as Bell had failed to recapture the individual success he had in Pittsburgh and the Jets were well on their way to a second straight losing season. Bell asked for a trade from New York, and when the Jets couldn’t find a partner, they released Bell.

He caught on in Kansas City, signing a contract for the rest of the 2020 season to help the Chiefs take the load off rookie starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He ended up starting two games for Kansas City and playing in nine, rushing for 254 yards and two scores.

But even during the worst of his run with the Jets, Bell said he never considered sitting out in Pittsburgh to be a mistake.

“No, that never crossed my mind,” Bell said. “Me sitting out, I feel like it helped me on the back end of my career. … It kind of like reset my body. I feel like it’s going to help me for the end of my career and elongate my career.”

Bell expressed some disappointment in not being able to play the Steelers in the postseason. Pittsburgh was unbeaten when Bell signed with the Chiefs, and it looked like the teams were on a collision course in the AFC, but the Steelers lost five of their last six games to close the season.

“We thought we were going to have to see the Steelers at some point, which I was excited about,” Bell said. “Obviously, it didn’t end up happening.”

One member of Bell’s Steelers that he will see this week is wide receiver Antonio Brown, who also manufactured his exit from Pittsburgh, demanding a trade in the 2019-20 offseason that took him from Pittsburgh to Oakland. Brown was then cut by the Raiders, signed with New England, got suspended and was released again before eventually signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“It’s crazy to think as long as we’ve been playing together, we’ve never made it to this point, but playing against each other is going to be fun,” Bell said.

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Steelers Opponents

Ravens Assistant David Culley Hired as Houston Texans Head Coach

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Baltimore Ravens assistant head coach and former Steelers assistant coach David Culley has been hired as the new coach of the Houston Texans, according to a report by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

Culley, 65, will be a head coach for the first time. He was most recently assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 2019-20.

He was the Steelers’ wide receivers coach from 1996-98, serving under head coach Bill Cowher and offensive coordinators Chan Gailey and Ray Sherman.

A 26-year NFL assistant, Culley has also worked as wide receivers coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1994-95), Philadelphia Eagles (1999-2012) and Kansas City Chiefs (2013-16) and was quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills (2017-18), working under current NFL head coaches Andy Reid and Sean McDermott.

A native of Sparta, Tennessee, Culley is a Vanderbilt alum, and coached collegiately at his alma mater (1979-81), Austin Peay (1978), Middle Tennessee State (1982), Chattanooga (1983), Louisiana (1985-88), Texas A&M (1991-93).

Culley is the fourth Baltimore assistant to depart for a promotion this offseason. Defensive line coach Joe Cullen will be the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars, linebackers coach Mike MacDonald has been hired to be the defensive coordinator at Michigan and Vanderbilt tapped defensive backs coach Jesse Minter as the Commodores’ new defensive coordinator.

The Ravens will receive two third-round draft picks as compensation for the Ravens hiring away Culley as part of the NFL’s Rooney Rule enhancements, one in 2021 and another in 2022.

The Texans have come under fire from inside and outside of their organization for the way the team approached its offseason, in which it needed to hire a new general manager and head coach after firing Bill O’Brien early in the 2020 season.

Star quarterback Deshaun Watson has reportedly demanded a trade after feeling that his issues were not heard before the team hired Patriots executive Nick Caserio as general manager. It’s unclear if the hiring of Culley, who will become the third Black head coach in the NFL for 2021, will have any impact on Watson’s decision.

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