Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell may now be looking to make the most of his fledgling boxing career after winning his first pro fight in October, but he hasn’t closed the door to a return to the NFL in the future.
The 30-year-old Ohio-born Michigan State graduate was drafted into the NFL in the second round back in 2013 and played for five seasons at the Steelers before moving to the New York Jets in 2019 and has subsequently played with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before switching to boxing.
In July, he opted to sit out the 2022 NFL season after he was released by the Buccaneers, who are now falling down the NFL futures Super Bowl betting rankings, which you can delve deeper into by reading here for more information on who is leading the odds.
Bell defeated Adrian Peterson in an exhibition fight, who also made a name for himself in the NFL, by way of a knockout in September and then faced former UFC fighter Uriah Hall in his first professional fight at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
The four-round encounter ended in a unanimous decision in Hall’s favor, but the fight didn’t harm Bell’s reputation, with his opponent quick to show respect to his defeated opponent;
I just told him I have so much respect for him,"
"It's such a hard thing to do to switch careers, you know he was a professional football player, and for him to step outside his comfort zone and do this -- toughest sport in the world, I don't care who you are, this is the toughest sport in the world -- and I gave him so much props. I'm proud of you, man. This should make you understand that this is a hard road, and I promise you, if you keep going, you'll make it."
Prior to the fight, Bell had stated there was a “one-percent” chance he would return to the NFL, stating;
"It would have to be playoffs,"
"And then, like, I got a starting job, and it's for a contending team – I have a chance to win a Super Bowl. That'd literally be the only chance."
One wonders if he might now readjust this avenue or whether he’ll now go ‘all-in’ on a boxing career that could, arguably, go in either direction. Bell certainly doesn’t lack confidence, and to be fair to the one-time Pro Bowl pick, he has every right to back himself;
"I want to be champion and show people that I made first-team All-Pro in the NFL, and I changed over sports to be the best pro that I am. At one point, I was the best; I reached the highest peak, and [now], it's boxing." He commented in the lead-up to his pro boxing bow.Hall has backed Bell to do well in the boxing arena; "Don’t you dare listen to the naysayers," Hall posted on his Instagram account, "and don’t you dare give up on your dreams," he concluded. As yet, Le’Veon Bell doesn’t have a follow-up fight lined up, but one imagines it won’t be long before he has another boxer in his sights as he gears up to make an impact in this new field.