Former Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell admits to smoking marijuana before big games. Does he really want to return to the NFL?
The one-time star running back has been out of the game for a while, but he’s not retired. His most recent comments won’t help his chances of a return.
Regardless of the sport, the tendency we all have is to believe that the top athletes are living above the line in terms of health. Yet, that’s not always the case and still some of them are able to perform at the highest level. So, what gives?
Le’Veon Bell smoked marijuana before big games
If we look at the last decade in the NFL, it’s almost impossible to ignore the name of Le’Veon Bell when it comes to running backs. One of the most prolific players in the position in recent years, Bell was MVP level prior to his now infamous standoff with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yet, given his now extended absence from the field, his recent comments certainly won’t do him any favors in terms of enticing a team to acquire him for the coming season. What are we talking about? Speaking on a recent episode of the “Steel Here” podcast, Bell disclosed that he that he would smoke marijuana before big games and moreover, it didn’t stop him from posting big numbers.
“Looking back, that’s what I did,” Bell said. “When I was playing football, I smoked. Even before the games, I’d smoke and I’d go out there and run for 150, two (touchdowns).” For the purpose of context, let’s recap. Between 2013 and 2017 Bell posted an eye-opening 5,336 rushing yards, 2,660 receiving yards and an average of 5.2 yards per touch while playing for the Steelers. During that time, he was named to two All-Pro selections and had three 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Yet, as you probably know, Bell missed the 2018 season due to a contract dispute with the Steelers and later signed a four year, $52.5 million deal with the New York Jets in 2019.
What happened to Le’Veon Bell’s career?
There’s no other way to say it really. Bell’s stint with the the Jets sucked. In the one-and-a-half seasons that he featured, he recorded a paltry 863 rushing yards, to go with three rushing touchdowns, on an average of 3.27 yards per carry. To be clear, those numbers were good enough for last place in the league among the 16 running backs who posted more than 240 carries between the moment when he joined the Jets and when he was released by them in the fall of 2020.
Following his time in New York, he spent brief periods of time with the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but to be clear he has not featured in an NFL game since the season of 2021. That being said, Bell has stated that he’s not retired from the league. What that means for a running back who has rushed beyond 20-yards since Christmas 2017, we’re not sure, but at the very least he can acknowledge the idea that he could have dealt with certain scenarios in a different way.
“It literally was the guarantee. They weren’t budging off of it and I wasn’t budging off of it. I didn’t want to leave Pittsburgh,” Bell said. “At the end of the day, that’s where I was at. That’s where I got drafted at. Especially after going to different teams and seeing how it is, when a team has their guy, you’re their guy. I was Pittsburgh’s guy.” Interestingly, Bell made it clear that he hopes for a return to Pittsburgh specifically, something he admits he has some making up to do. “I’m trying to retire with Pittsburgh,” Bell said. “But before I do that, I might be like, ‘Hey, let me get a couple carries in the preseason so I can show you all something.’ ...I would not do that anywhere else. Because I don’t even think about playing, it literally would only be in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is where I’ll retire.”