It’s Le’Veon Bell’s turn to shine.
After Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire injured his ankle and hip with 5:55 left in last Sunday’s win over the New Orleans Saints, Bell will likely be counted on for the Chiefs’ last two regular season games.
“He’s done a great job in the number of shots he’s got so far,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “And I’m sure he will keep doing better and better as he gets more and more pictures.”
Bell carried the ball 56 times for 224 yards (4.0 on average) and caught 12 passes for 90 yards for the Chiefs, but he’s coming off his best game.
He hit season highs in rushing yards (62) and carries (15) against the Saints and scored a touchdown on an optional play.
Her presence in the racing game is not only important for the Chiefs 13-1 to clinch the No. 1 seed and bye, which is only awarded to one AFC team this year, but she is also important to Bell’s future in the NFL.
The 28-year-old bell signed a one year contract with the chefs. He will therefore be a free agent without compensation after the season.
Bell was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but his game declined so much over the next season and a half with the New York Jets that he averaged 3.3 yards per carry on his 264 carries for them.
It could be argued that the lack of surrounding talent and culture in New York was a major reason for his abandonment of the game since his days in Pittsburgh where he averaged a yard taller per race.
The Chiefs coaching staff praised Bell’s football sense and ability to master their complex offensive playbook.
“That’s why he was able to figure it out so quickly,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. “He’s really smart and he loves to play.
Reid’s praise for Bell’s enthusiasm for the game may come as a surprise to those who criticized Bell’s decision to turn down the $ 14.5 million franchise and not participate in the 2018 season.
He ended up landing a four-year, $ 52.5 million contract with the Jets in 2019 and was paid $ 14.97 million by them last season.
This year, New York is paying him nearly $ 6 million not to play for them. The fact that the Jets were so eager to get rid of him that they literally paid millions to do so should set off red flags when it hits the free agent market in 2021.
This is why it is so important for him to prove that the skeptics are wrong. With the rookie sensation Edwards-Helaire ruled out, this is his chance.
With Bell turning 29 in February, he likely won’t receive a deal close to the one the Jets gave him. And it probably won’t be with the Chiefs.
In addition to Edwards-Helaire, they have playoff hero Damien Williams, who has retired from the 2020 season, is expected to return in 2021.
Bell isn’t the only full-back the Chiefs may be looking to replace Edwards-Helaire.
“We have a lot of guys who have got reps in this offense,” said Mahomes, “who are ready to jump in whenever their name or number is called.”
Look for more action from Darrel Williams, who has 29 carries for 123 yards this year.
Known for his versatility, Williams has been cited by Edwards-Helaire as a mentor given their similar backgrounds, having both played collegially at LSU.
The Chiefs also have second-year half-back Darwin Thompson, who made a name for himself in last year’s preseason for his stellar performances, but has seen limited action this year.
Edwards-Helaire did not train on Wednesday. But the Chiefs did not put him in the casualty reserve.
Arrowhead’s word is that there is cautious optimism that the No.1 seed’s landing would give Edwards-Helaire a month to get back in shape, allowing his return for the playoffs.
But until then, it’s the Bell show.