A not-so-encouraging report has emerged regarding one of the larger names about to hit the free agent market.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News hears “word on the street” is that free-agent-to-be Le’Veon Bell beefed up to 260 pounds at one point during his holdout in 2018. Bell’s playing weight is right around 225 pounds, according to his Pro Football Reference page. That’s a 35-pound difference that isn’t inconsequential to a player whose combination of power and speed makes him one of football’s best running backs. Well, at least when he isn’t sitting out the year.
As for concerns regarding Bell not being in playing shape, they’re understandable. Because while it would come as no surprise that Bell isn’t in peak condition during his year away from the game, a 260-pound factor back doesn’t seem all that ideal. Bell hasn’t played a game in 403 days, so conditioning is going to be a factor in one way or another.
Then again, I suppose it’s possible that the year off did wonders elsewhere for Bell’s body because he didn’t have to deal with the normal wear-and-tear of a running back in his mid-20s. But still … Bell has some questions to answer before a team (the Bears?) forks over a hefty check for his services.
Once the Steelers made it known their plans to let Bell hit the market un-tagged, we knew the star running back was going to be one of the biggest free agents available. But the report from the New York Daily News regarding Bell’s shape isn’t what we had in mind.