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Le'Veon Bell Reportedly to Sign Contract with Buccaneers Ahead of Week 16

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 22, 2021

AP Photo/Nick Wass

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are reportedly turning to a veteran running back for help ahead of the 2021 season's stretch run.

According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the reigning Super Bowl champions will sign Le'Veon Bell if he passes a physical. Bell appeared in five games earlier this season for the Baltimore Ravens, although he has been unable to replicate the production of his prime when he was on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Baltimore brought Bell aboard earlier this year because of injury concerns at the running back position, most notably to J.K. Dobbins (ACL). However, it released him in November after he averaged just 2.7 yards per carry.

There was a time when the Michigan State product was one of the best overall players in the NFL.

He was a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro selection who finished with more than 1,200 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards in 2014, 2016 and 2017. His shiftiness in the open field, patience at the line of scrimmage and ability as a pass-catcher made him a nightmare for opposing defenses.

Still, Bell missed the 2018 campaign because of a contract dispute with Pittsburgh and has never been the same while playing for the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Ravens. 

Tampa Bay needs more depth at running back, though, as ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Leonard Fournette is "likely" to miss the rest of the regular season and be placed on injured reserve with a hamstring ailment that ended his game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Giovani Bernard (hip) is also on injured reserve and missed the loss to the Saints.

Ronald Jones II will likely be the main running back moving forward until Fournette is ready to return, but Bell will at least provide another veteran option for a team with realistic Super Bowl aspirations.                  

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