Le'Veon Bell admits he left the Pittsburgh Steelers for "a little petty reason." After being selected by the Steelers in the 2013 NFL draft, Bell established himself as one of the best running backs in the league during his time in Pittsburgh between 2013 and 2017.
In the 2017 offseason, Bell wanted to sign a hefty multiyear deal. After Bell and the Steelers failed to reach an agreement, the running back was franchise tagged for the 2017 season. The following offseason, Bell and the Steelers again couldn't reach an agreement so the running back decided to sit out the season and sign a four-year, $52 million deal with the New York Jets in 2019.
The Jets deal included $35 million guaranteed. “Yeah, it was a little petty, the little guarantee stuff. I’m thinking like, ‘Damn, could I have really just ate it?’ Yeah, I probably could’ve. Probably could’ve really ate it," Bell said on the Steel Here podcast.
Bell claims he wanted to stay with the Steelers
“No, I didn’t want to leave Pittsburgh. Because at the end of the day, that’s where I was at," Bell added. In New York, Bell wasn't anywhere near as good as he was with the Steelers.
On the same podcast, Bell claimed his time with the Jets made him realize what a difference makes having a good and bad coach. "Bro, we get to New York, and that's when you instantly find out that head coaches make a huge difference.
As soon as I get to New York I find that out like the first week. Bro, the team wasn't that great, don't get me wrong, but I feel like if Coach [Mike] Tomlin [of the Steelers] was coaching that team, we win nine games at least.
It's to the point where [ex-Jets quarterback] Sam Darnold don't even know like the actual line's protections because he's so confused about our offense because the coach is confusing him," Bell said on the podcast. Bell, 31, is a free agent as he hasn't played in the NFL since 2021.
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