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Chiefs make Le'Veon Bell signing official but his Kansas City debut might not come this week

By Herbie Teope, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Football

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Chiefs officially welcomed running back Le'Veon Bell by announcing his signing Saturday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid mentioned the contract wasn't signed.

"He's got to through all the protocols and that, so nothing is official yet," Reid said. "When it becomes official, then we'll talk."

Life comes fast in the NFL because less than two hours after the team's final media availability, the deal is done.

With the announcement, Bell is now on the 53-player roster but isn't likely to play Monday against the Buffalo Bills given he just joined the team.

He does, however, project to be available against the Denver Broncos in Week 7, a game before the Chiefs host Bell's former team, the New York Jets, at Arrowhead Stadium.

Nevertheless, the bigger question falls on which version of Bell are the Chiefs getting: the one who was a two-time All-Pro selection and three-time Pro Bowler with the Pittsburgh Steelers or the one who gained just 863 yards rushing in 17 games with New York before his release?

Kansas City is clearly hoping for the former scenario given the signing.

 

"He's been a heck of a player," Reid said before the deal became official. "I wouldn't expect any different here."

From 2013 to 2017 while with the Steelers, Bell was regarded as one of the NFL's elite dual-threat running backs with 5,336 yards rushing, 2,660 yards receiving and 42 total touchdowns (35 rushing).

Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who had to scheme against Bell a few times at previous stops, knows well just how dangerous the running back was in Pittsburgh.

"I've got a lot of respect for Le'Veon Bell," Spagnuolo said Thursday. "I haven't seen him or gone against him in a long time. ...He was so challenging to stop in now what we call dual-play that the Pittsburgh Steelers ran, where he would just sit back there and pick and weave. And no matter what you did, it felt like you couldn't stop him for less than 6 or 7 yards."

At just 28, Bell should have plenty of gas left in the tank and will provide the Chiefs a potent one-two punch at the running back position when combined with rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

The Chiefs' running backs group now boasts Bell, Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, DeAndre Washington and Darwin Thompson.

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