PITTSBURGH — Where is Tom Brady when Le'Veon Bell really needs him?
It is clear Bell needs plenty of help resurrecting his NFL career. His actions are begging for it. Bell's pal, Antonio Brown, needed similar help last season. Brady saved Brown in a variety of ways.
Brady convinced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to sign Brown despite Brown's erratic — even criminal — behavior with the Oakland Raiders and Steelers. He taught Brown how to be a professional and stay out of trouble. He threw Brown enough passes for him to reach a $250,000 bonus in just eight games. He threw Brown a touchdown pass in the win against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. He made Brown a world champion.
"Tom is a great guy," Brown said after the Super Bowl win. "He's been in my corner Day 1. A big brother to me. Always believed in me. Took me under his wing. Helped me get the right perspective.
"It's been a tremendous honor working with Tom. He's a legend. He's a winner. He's a good leader. One of the best human beings I know. I can't speak enough what he's meant to me."
Maybe most significantly, Brady saved Brown by convincing him to stay off social media, which had been destroying Brown.
Does Bell need a Brady-like figure in his life right now, or what?
Bell made national news of the wrong kind during the weekend with an unprovoked attack on Chiefs coach Andy Reid. Bell finished last season with the Chiefs but wasn't used much and didn't play in the AFC championship game against the Buffalo Bills or in the Super Bowl. He remains an unsigned free agent this offseason.
"I'd never play for Andy Reid again ... I'd retire first," Bell posted on Instagram.
Bell, after facing significant pushback, apologized Sunday for conveying his thoughts on social media. But he quickly added on Twitter that he didn't regret what he said because that's how he felt.
"For those who have a PERSONAL PROBLEM with me because of what I SAID, that's fine ... you have your right! Just understand I ALSO have MY RIGHT for how I feel about MY PERSONAL problem with dude because of what HE SAID to me."
Bell didn't elaborate about what Reid said. If he has a legitimate beef with Reid, he should put it out there. As it is, it looks like he is blaming Reid for his lack of playing time and production with the Chiefs. It makes him look so small.
This is the second time in the past month that Bell has looked like a fool on social media. In May, he responded to a suggestion on Twitter that he should have played for the Steelers in 2018 instead of sitting out all season.
"they should've paid me what I wanted when they had the chance," Bell tweeted.
Why someone in Bell's position feels it's necessary to get into a Twitter war with fans is beyond me. What's clear is that particular post made no sense. The Steelers did offer to pay Bell, who was a big-time ball-toter for them in 2016 and 2017, rushing for a combined 2,559 yards and 16 touchdowns and catching 160 passes for 1,271 yards and four touchdowns. They offered him a five-year, $70 million contract before the 2018 season but didn't include as much guaranteed money as Bell wanted. He also refused to play in 2018 for $14.5 million under the Steelers' franchise tag. He ended up signing a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the New York Jets before the 2019 season.
But Bell was a bust with the Jets. He did little on the field and openly feuded with coach Adam Gase. The Jets released him in October, enabling him to sign with the Chiefs. The only headlines he made in New York came off the field and were almost comical. In June 2019, he reported to 911 that two women he had left naked in his bed when he went to work out robbed him of more than $500,000 in jewelry. Don't you hate when something like that happens? In December 2019, Bell went bowling on a Saturday night after being ruled out of the next day's game because of the flu. That, too, was a horrible look for him.
The bottom line?
Bell is 29. He hasn't played well since the 2017 season with the Steelers. He can't find an NFL job. He might be finished, even though he has promised — on social media, of course — that 2021 is going to be a huge season for him.
I think Bell is delusional.
I'm not sure even Tom Brady could help him at this point.