(Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)
It's been a lifelong dream of Le'Veon Bell's to play in the Super Bowl and he'll finally get that opportunity with the Chiefs on Sunday against the Buccaneers. In doing so, he'll face his longtime teammate when he was with the Steelers in Antonio Brown. The two of them were the best at their respective positions when they were in Pittsburgh and put up gaudy numbers year after year. They just could never reach the Super Bowl as a duo with the Steelers.
"It's crazy to think as long as we played together we never made it to this point," Bell said via Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports. "The fact we're playing against each other is going to be fun. We're just on different sides of the ball, obviously. AB made so many plays and so many memories, it would be too tough to pick out one specific memory. It's going to be fun to watch him play."
Bell said he still keeps in contact with some of his old Steeler teammates, but he hasn't with Brown.
"When we were in Pittsburgh, we weren't envisioning being in the Super Bowl somewhere else," Bell said. "I still keep in touch with a lot of my old teammates in Pittsburgh. Me and him haven't kept in contact like that. I've kind of watched him from a distance and been proud of what he's been doing."
The Steelers got out off to a franchise-best start in 2020 with a record of 11-0, but they faded down the stretch and lost five of their last six games of the season, including the embarrassing 48-37 loss to the Browns in the wild-card round game. For most of the season, the Steelers and the Chiefs were neck and neck with each other for the No. 1 seed in the conference and were considered as the class of the AFC. Bell was looking forward to playing the Steelers in the playoffs, but that obviously never came to fruition.
"That was always kind of an idea," Bell said of playing Pittsburgh in the playoffs. "We knew at the time, we were a game behind the Steelers when they were 11-0. We were thinking that we were probably going to have to see the Steelers at some point, which was something I was excited about. That didn't end up happening. It is what it is. It's been a fun ride so far."
Bell sat out the entire 2018 season due to a contract dispute with the Steelers and cashed in on a four-year, $52 million deal with the Jets in March of 2019. Bell wouldn't last long with the Jets, as he really never saw eye to eye with head coach Adam Gase and was released by the team on Oct. 13, 2020, after the Jets couldn't find a trade partner. Four days later, Bell signed a one-year contract with the Chiefs.
Bell, 28, hasn't been very productive with the Chiefs and is currently the team's third-string running back. In nine regular-season games with Kansas City, Bell rushed for 254 yards on 63 carries (4.0 average) and two touchdowns. In addition, he had 13 receptions for 99 yards. In the divisional-round game against the Browns, Bell rushed for just six yards on two attempts.
Despite things not working out with the Jets and taking on a backup role with the Chiefs, Bell doesn't regret sitting out the entire 2018 season when he was with the Steelers.
"No. That never crossed my mind," Bell said on the idea of regretting his decision. "Me sitting out, looking at it, it has kind of helped me on the back end of my career. Last year when I came back, it kind of felt like I was a rookie all over again. I was so excited to get back on the field and get my gatherings back. It really helped my body. I feel like it's going to help me for the end of my career, elongating my career."