KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) —The Kansas City Chiefs signed Le’Veon Bell late Thursday, two days after he was released by the New York Jets, giving them some much-needed depth at running back and another weapon for quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“Kansas City, #ChiefsKingdom, thank you for the opportunity let’s go!” Bell tweeted.
Bell, a two-time All-Pro with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was cut by the Jets after a disappointing tenure in New York that lasted less than two full seasons. Bell and coach Adam Gase appeared to not mesh since the running back signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with $35 million guaranteed last year as a free agent.
He will slot into one of the NFL’s most dynamic offenses behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has been one of the league’s most impressive rookies this season. But the Chiefs have little depth behind him with only Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson getting regular work—DeAndre Washington was signed in free agency but has been a protected player on the practice squad, unable to crack the game-day roster through the first five games.
The Chiefs thought they would have Damien Williams, one of the heroes of their comeback victory over San Francisco in the Super Bowl, but he opted out because of the COVID-19 pandemic before the start of the season.
Bell, who no doubt is eying the Chiefs’ game against the Jets in Week 8, has a similar skillset to Williams in his patience and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. And he has far better career credentials, topping 1,200 yards rushing and 75 receptions in a season on three different occasions.
“A tremendous player, someone that can do it all,” Mahomes said earlier in the day, when word began to spread that Bell was considering the Chiefs among a trio of teams. “Whoever is in this locker room, we make sure they’re ready to go.”
Exactly when Bell will be ready to go is unclear. The Chiefs were supposed to play in Buffalo on Thursday night, but the game was pushed back to Monday night because the Bills and Titans were not clear to play until this past Tuesday.
“Welcome my brother! Let’s get it!” Mahomes tweeted in response to Bell signing with Kansas City.
While the financial terms of the one-year deal with Kansas City were unknown, the Jets are responsible for the remaining $6 million in base pay on his salary with an offset clause the defrays the amount based on his salary with the Chiefs.
Nick Saban won’t be allowed to coach No. 2 Alabama from home against third-ranked Georgia per NCAA guidelines, and also can’t be in the stadium while testing positive for COVID-19.
The coach remains asymptomatic after testing positive for COVID, and Alabama said Saban was evaluated by team doctor Jimmy Robinson Thursday “and is doing fine.”
“He is continuing to self-isolate and will remain in the SEC testing protocol while being evaluated daily,” the school said.
When asked if a coach who remained positive could coach from an isolated room at the stadium, SEC spokesman Herb Vincent cited CDC guidelines saying “people who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others.”
Then there are the NCAA restrictions.
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn referred to the rules interpretation written by national coordinator of football officials Steve Shaw when asked about Saban coaching. In an earlier response to the prospect of any coach being in quarantine because of COVID-19, Shaw’s interpretation was that coaches aren’t allowed to use technology to call in plays or communicate with the team in the locker room.