Remember Le’Veon Bell? He’s the multi-time All-Pro running back who sat out the entire 2018 season over a contract a dispute (he opted to skip the season rather than play under the $14.5 million franchise tag). Four years removed from the contract debacle, he’s again out of the league – apparently by choice.
And he currently has no plans to attempt a comeback.
Bell, who has just 1,218 rushing yards in the three seasons since he returned to the NFL, is scheduled to fight another former All-Pro running back, Adrian Peterson, in a boxing exhibition later this month. Even as NFL training camps near, Bell intends to direct his focus on the ring, even after his bout with Peterson.
“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,” Bell said in an interview with NFL.com.
“This year, I know I’m not going to be playing this year because I want to focus on boxing.”
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) July 12, 2022
Last season, Bell spent time with both the Ravens and Buccaneers. He appeared in eight games, rushing for just 101 combined yards and two touchdowns.
With the prime of his playing career behind him, he’s embraced the new challenge.
“So, this transition for me has kind of been like, I guess, another opportunity for me,” said Bell. “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.”
Though Bell seems to have accepted his fate as a soon-to-be retired running back, his opponent, Peterson, isn’t yet ready to close the door on his own NFL career.
“This is something that I definitely can see myself doing going forward as well, just depending on how things kind of play out for me,” Peterson said of boxing, via NFL.com.
Peterson, who ran for just 98 yards last season between stints with Tennessee and Seattle later added: “So, even after this fight, I will still be on my same routine, waiting for that next opportunity to present itself.”
The exhibition bout between the two former running backs will be held at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on July 30th.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF