Le’Veon Bell has not played since Week 18 of last season, and he saw only 44 touches in 170 snaps over eight games with two different teams. His career has not been the same since his 2017 All-Pro season, which was followed by a holdout in 2018 in a contract dispute with the Steelers.
Bell’s NFL career probably was finished anyway as no team has shown interest in signing the 30-year-old running back, but Bell said Tuesday he will not play this season.
He instead wants to focus on his boxing career.
“It’s been a challenge I’ve been willing to accept, something I took on,” Bell said during a promotional event for his upcoming fight with Adrian Peterson, via NFL.com. “Boxing is something that, you know, they always say it’s something you can’t play boxing. Last year, I almost sat out the whole year to try to focus on boxing because I kind of knew that was what I wanted to transition to. This year, I know I’m not going to be playing this year because I want to focus on boxing. So, this transition for me has kind of been like, I guess, another opportunity for me. I’m just ready to showcase what I’m about.
“This is not just a one-off. This is, I guess like my introduction to kind of show what I’ll doing and how I’ll be going about myself. Just an intro.”
Bell played five games for the Ravens and three for the Buccaneers last season after playing for the Jets and Chiefs in 2020. He has 6,554 career rushing yards and 42 touchdowns, while catching 399 passes for 3,289 yards and nine touchdowns.
He is scheduled to fight Peterson on July 30 at Crypto.com Arena, hoping that kick starts his second sports career.
“I obviously feel like I’m more quick than 99 percent of the people that I’m going to be in the ring with,” Bell said. “My speed, my quickness, my timing, it’s really going to be unmatched.”