In Le’Veon Bell, The Kansas City Chiefs Snag A Pro Bowl Back For Second Straight Year

In early September of last season, the Kansas City Chiefs signed a Pro Bowl runner who starred in The Keystone State — former Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills back LeSean McCoy — to a one-year deal.

In mid October of this season, the Chiefs signed another Pro Bowl runner who starred in The Keystone State — former Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets back Le’Veon Bell, who the Jets released earlier this week — to a one-year deal.

It’s another sign that Chiefs general manager Brett Veach is one of the most aggressive general managers in the business.

McCoy, a six-time Pro Bowler, gave the Chiefs an early-season lift in 2019, rushing for 465 yards before being a late-season inactive, including in Super Bowl LIV.

But McCoy was 31 last year, and the 28-year-old Bell should have much more in the tank and could bolster a running game that has regressed of late. The Chiefs haven’t reached 100 rushing yards as a team in either of the last two contests.

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Despite 138 rushing yards from exciting rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Week One, they rank just 13th in the NFL in rushing while averaging 119.4 yards per game.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is well aware of Bell’s ability. The three-time Pro Bowler gashed his Chiefs for 170 rushing yards at Arrowhead Stadium during a playoff loss to end Kansas City’s 2016 season.

Asked about the possibility of Bell joining the team during Thursday’s press conference, Reid dodged the question, pointing out that Veach is in charge of those kind of personnel moves.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes also deflected the question before praising Bell.

“A tremendous player,” Mahomes said, “someone that can do it all, someone that can run the ball.”

Bell indeed did everything for the Steelers. Known for his patient running style and for possessing the sure hands of a wide receiver, he rushed for 5,336 yards and recorded 2,660 receiving yards during his five years in Pittsburgh. But frustrations over a contract led him to sit out the 2018 season, and he passed on a $14.5 million franchise tag.

He ended up landing a four-year, $52.5 million contract last year, though New York would’ve been able to opt out of it soon. They are responsible for the remaining $6 million on his 2020 contract, which will be offset by however much the Chiefs will pay him.

Per NFL rules, Bell must go through five days of COVID-19 testing before he can play. So he won’t be available for Monday’s game at the Bills.

Bell was one of the best running backs in the league while with Pittsburgh, but his Jets tenure went poorly, and he averaged only 3.3 yards per carry during his year-plus with the team.

The Chiefs are banking that going from perhaps the worst team in the NFL to the best will resuscitate his career.

After signing McCoy to a one-year deal, the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV. But McCoy did not return to the Chiefs and is now on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Bell likely will not be with the Chiefs beyond this year, but they’re hoping his addition also ends in a Super Bowl title.

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