By: Joshua Brisco
The Kansas City Chiefs and Le’Veon Bell are going to be a wonderful pairing for the next few months. Sure, Bell’s tenures with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets both ended unceremoniously — albeit for reasons that were, arguably, understandable, as Bell wanted more money in Pittsburgh and less Adam Gase in New York — but Bell is giving the Chiefs every reason to believe that his time in Kansas City will be fundamentally different.
In Pittsburgh, Bell was one of the league’s best backs, a focus of the Steelers’ offense and fantasy football lineups everywhere. In New York, he was signed as a savior to the Jets’ struggling offense — before Gase made it clear that he didn’t even want Bell in the first place. Now, in Kansas City, Bell has an opportunity to be an overqualified roleplayer while his reputation evolves.
Bell spoke to members of Kansas City media on Wednesday for the first time as a member of the Chiefs, and while he didn’t care to elaborate on the issues in New York, he was open about why he chose Kansas City for his next step.
“When I had the opportunity, once I was a free agent, talking to Coach Reid… it was just kind of undeniable to try to come here and help this team in any ways I can help them out,” Bell said. “The opportunity to play with Coach Reid is just going to be magnificent for me.”
Bell continued and talked about being excited to play with an MVP quarterback, “Patty Mahomes,” and alongside all of the weapons the Chiefs already have in place.
For the first time in his career, Bell is a luxury piece, not an essential part of an offense that needs him to dominate in order to be successful. “This is really a relief,” Bell said. “Coming here, I don’t really feel pressured about anything. I just want to come here and play football. People are allowing me to do that. I feel like I’m in a great spot, great place and I’m eager. I’m ready to roll.”
The aforementioned “Patty” Mahomes spoke to that same major change in Bell’s expectations and noted that, in the Chiefs’ high-flying offense, Bell should have the best matchups he’s seen in years.
“Obviously he’s a mismatch coming out of the backfield,” Mahomes said. “The way he’s able to run routes, the way he’s able to split out and basically be another receiver out there is pretty special. He’s going to get a lot of matchups he hasn’t had recently with a lot of linebackers on him. I’m sure he’s pretty excited about that.”
While Reid has been perhaps the most subtle in his excitement about adding Bell to the rotation, he did acknowledge that the former All-Pro running back will add a nice variance to the Chiefs’ offense.
“Different flavors isn’t bad to throw at a defense, and I think when you see Le’Veon, you’re going to see how big he is — he’s a big man,” Reid said. “So, that’s a different flavor than maybe what we have at the other spots.”
For Bell, none of this comes as a surprise. He acknowledged the Chiefs’ depth across the offense, and with any luck, it should be a contributing factor to the Chiefs’ success with Bell for the remainder of the year.
“Yeah, I mean, obviously when I decided to come here, I already knew the weapons and there’s only one football to go around,” Bell said. “The time where I do get my opportunity, I think it’s going to be a lot of opportunity to kind of show what I can do in some space, running routes. I think this offense is really fit for my skillset. I think Coach Reid does a good job of getting backs the ball in space. I’m just glad I got this opportunity.”