Closing Bell: Ravens waive former Pro Bowl RB


Former Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell was waived by the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday after struggling in five games with the team.

Bell will become a free agent if he goes unclaimed by another team.

Before the Ravens announced the move, Bell wrote on Twitter: “This hurts but it’s been a blessing to be here to say the least. I’ve enjoyed every second of this short period and gotta whole new meaning of what this city is like & it’s a great place to be. I appreciate Eric [DeCosta, Ravens GM] & John Harbaugh for the opportunity to be called [a] Raven.”

Bell, 29, didn’t show much of a burst in Baltimore, averaging a career-worst 2.7 yards per carry (83 yards on 31 attempts). He scored two touchdowns.

The Ravens signed Bell to their practice squad on Sept. 7 to help their injury-filled backfield. Bell never played more than a reserve role for Baltimore, running behind Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman on the depth chart.

Bell’s best game was Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings, when he produced 48 yards rushing. But he never totaled more than 18 yards rushing in his other four appearances.

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By cutting Bell, the Ravens are left with three running backs on the 53-man roster (Murray, Freeman and Ty’Son Williams) and another on the practice squad (Nate McCrary). After losing its top two backs (J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards) to season-ending injuries before the start of the regular season, Baltimore has had trouble getting consistent production from its backfield. The Ravens’ running backs have combined for 705 yards rushing, which ranks 23rd in the NFL.

For Bell, it’s unknown whether this marks the end of his eight-year NFL career. In his first five seasons (all with the Pittsburgh Steelers), Bell was one of the most prolific and versatile backs in the league, totaling 5,282 yards (third among all NFL running backs). After sitting out the 2018 season over a contract dispute, he never reached the same statistical heights and managed 1,193 yards combined over the past three seasons (40th among running backs).

A second-round pick by the Steelers in 2013, Bell made the Pro Bowl in three of his five seasons in Pittsburgh. But he’s been a journeyman ever since, bouncing around three teams (the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Ravens) over the past three seasons.

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