Le'Veon Bell Says He Won't Play in NFL During 2022 Season to Focus on Boxing

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 12, 2022

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 16: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running Back Le'Veon Bell (6) warms up before the NFL Wild Card game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 16, 2022 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Longtime NFL running back Le'Veon Bell said he won't be playing football this year as he pursues a boxing career.

"This year, I know I'm not going to be playing this year because I want to focus on boxing," he told Grant Gordon of NFL Media.

Bell is already scheduled to box another NFL veteran, running back Adrian Peterson, on July 30 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles for the Social Gloves 2 event. It will be an exhibition bout, and the first fight for the two men, though it won't be counted as a professional debut.

Le'Veon Bell @LeVeonBell

&amp; it’s official 🍿👀 nothing else needs to be said, let’s gooo <a href="https://t.co/lBGwwI7nyg">pic.twitter.com/lBGwwI7nyg</a>

YouTubers Austin McBroom and AnEsonGib will fight in the main event, while rapper Blueface will take on former NBA player Nick Young in an undercard bout.

With Jake and Logan Paul ushering in a new wave of celebrity boxing matches, a number of athletes from other sports have followed suit, including former NFL players Frank Gore and Chad Johnson and former NBA players Deron Williams and Nate Robinson.

Bell, 30, is the latest to follow that trend. He played in just eight games between the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, rushing for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

The three-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro selection was one of the most dangerous weapons in football during his early years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, though he hasn't rushed for over 1,000 yards since the 2107 season, his last in the Steel City.

With his NFL career appearing to run its course, Bell has seemingly identified boxing as his second act.