“It’s been a blessing to be here” – The Denver Post

The Ravens have released running back Le’Veon Bell, parting ways with the former Pittsburgh Steelers star after just five games.

Bell had three carries for 1 yard in the Ravens’ 22-10 loss Thursday to the Miami Dolphins and finished with 31 attempts for 83 yards and two touchdowns over his time in Baltimore. In a farewell message he shared Tuesday on Twitter, he thanked Ravens coach John Harbaugh and general manager Eric DeCosta for the opportunity.

“This hurts, but it’s been a blessing to be here to say the least,” Bell wrote. “I’ve enjoyed every second of this short period & gotta whole new meaning of what this city is like & it’s a great place to be.”

Bell, a three-time Pro Bowl selection in Pittsburgh, did not participate in training camp this summer and signed with the Ravens’ practice squad in September after a rash of injuries decimated the team’s running back position. He was inactive for the Ravens’ first three games while he worked his way into game shape.

He made his 2021 debut in Week 4, rushing four times for 11 yards in a win over the Denver Broncos, and was promoted to the 53-man roster in mid-October. With an ankle injury sidelining starter Latavius Murray, Bell’s role had grown in recent weeks. He had 11 carries for 48 yards in Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings — his third-highest rushing total since 2020 — and played a season-high 31 snaps Thursday.

“Each and every week, he’s been getting better,” quarterback Lamar Jackson said last week. “[He’s] getting a feel for the game, hitting holes a little harder, picking up first downs.”

But Bell appeared to struggle with blitz pickups against Miami and again lacked the burst that had made him so elusive in Pittsburgh, where he had three 1,200-plus-yard rushing seasons in his first five years. His rushing yards over expected — a statistic that measures the difference between actual rushing yards and expected rushing yards — was minus-1.53 yards per carry, the lowest among Ravens running backs and one of the worst rates in the NFL.

Bell, one of the NFL’s more productive dual-threat running backs over his career, also never found a foothold as a receiver. He had one catch for minus-1 yard on three targets with the Ravens.

Now Bell, who played just 17 games for the New York Jets and nine for the Kansas City Chiefs after leaving the Steelers, will look for a new home to rekindle his career. He was just three weeks away from a reunion in Pittsburgh, this time in Ravens colors.

“I’m grateful for everything that’s happened to me in my career,” he said last week. “I just want to continue to keep my head held high and keep working hard because that’s what I take pride in. I come out in practice working hard each and every day, having people watch me. I’m not really much of a talker on the field. I kind of go out there and just practice hard, and I think people are noticing that. I just want to continue to work hard and go out there and make plays for my team.”

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