Former Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell visited the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for the first time since 2017 on Friday for the team’s walkthrough. During the 2018 season, the Steelers franchise tagged Bell for a second time, and the star running back held out for the entire season. In the offseason, he left to sign with the Jets, but Bell is out of football just five years later.
In town for the team’s clash with the Bengals on Saturday, Bell decided to drop by the facility to see his former coach, Mike Tomlin, and hang around the team. Not all players who exit like Bell did return, but guys like Santonio Holmes and others have returned and become staples of the team’s alumni programs. Bell has remained active around the team this year, even attending a few road games. But this is his first time back in Pittsburgh and he wishes he never left.
“Hey man, we are in here,” Bell said in a video posted to Snapchat. “I haven’t been in this facility, this parking lot, for so long…It’s crazy. We and Coach T bro, we still like this (close to each other). I was tripping, bro. Damn was I tripping. Why did y’all not tell me not to leave?”
Le’Veon Bell was at the #Steelers Facility today
He talks about his relationship with Coach Tomlin and regretting leaving the team@LeVeonBell
— The Standard (@TheStandard412) December 22, 2023
Bell expressed similar regrets this summer about how his tenure in Pittsburgh ended. He apologized for how he left and hoped that the fences could be mended between the two sides. Evidently, with his invitation to the facility, it would seem that has occurred, and Bell is accepted into the team’s alumni.
“You know, I’ve gotten requests to come on podcasts and all the know, but really you’re right. I never apologized to the fans and they really should know,” Bell said. “For leaving the Steelers, I never apologized. I want to say that I apologize for leaving the best damn fans in this world. I shouldn’t have left. I should’ve never left. I apologize, that’s my fault, that’s on me.”
Bell visited the facility just as a visitor and nothing else. While he said in jest that he would play for the team this year, it seems his career is likely over, and that Bell hopes to join the team’s alumni in good spirits. It’s not the first time something like this has occurred, and it probably will not be the last for the team. Bell is one of the examples of those ‘what if’ stories that the Steelers have faced over the last decade. Regardless, it seems both sides are moving forward with better relations as time passes.