Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown of the Steelers’ divergent journeys to Super Bowl 55

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When the Steelers selected Le’Veon Bell in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, they created a talented line that eventually became known as “Killer B.” Bell and Antonio Brown emerged as the best players in their positions, and Ben Roethlisberger was a perennial Pro Bowler.

During his media availability at Super Bowl 55 this week, Bell admitted that he always assumed he would compete for a championship while wearing a Steelers jersey.

“Obviously when we were in Pittsburgh we weren’t planning on going to the Super Bowl anywhere else,” Bell said.

Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, the rise of the “Killer B’s” was only offset by implosion a few years later.

Due to the timing of their outings, it’s easy to consolidate the journeys of Bell and Brown, now members of the Chiefs and Buccaneers, respectively. But the truth is, other than playing and unceremoniously leaving the same team, they shouldn’t be compared.

MORE: Brown, Bell and 7 more who can win the first Super Bowl ring

Why did Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown leave the Steelers?

Bell played the 2017 season under the franchise label, totaling nearly 2,000 rushing and receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s made it clear he won’t be doing it for a second year in a row, but the Steelers have scored him again anyway.

This led to a stalemate ahead of the 2018 campaign. While there have apparently been reports every week about the possibility of Bell’s return, he never showed up. The Jets signed a four-year, $ 52.5 million contract with Bell in the following offseason.

Brown’s departure was much more bizarre. He was benched in the final week of the 2018 season after posting a ridiculous line of 14 catches, 185 yards and two touchdowns in Week 16 against the Saints. It had nothing to do with performance – the Steelers were just fed up with his demeanor and lack of communication. The problems between Brown and the Steelers had been “brewing for years”, and that was the last drop.

The Pittsburgh front office continued a trade, ultimately sending Brown to the then Oakland Raiders for a third and fifth round pick. Brown signed a three-year, $ 50 million contract with the Raiders.

How did Le’Veon Bell end up on the Chiefs?

After joining the Jets, Bell’s relationship with Adam Gase started off badly and only got worse throughout his brief stint in New York. Multiple reports said the then head coach didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a running back, and Gase and Bell clashed over his injury status and touches.

The Jets released Bell in October 2020 on less than half of its deal. He averaged 3.3 yards per carry with just four total TDs in 17 games. He quickly found a new home in Kansas City, and while he hasn’t been a major producer for any of the NFL’s elite offensive units, he doesn’t regret the path he’s taken.

“I feel like I’m sitting down, what I see is that it helped me at the end of my career,” said Bell (via NFL.com). “The year I came back, last year, I felt like I was a rookie again. I was so excited to get back on the pitch, to resume my rallies. I don’t know, c It was kind of like resetting my body. I feel like it’s going to help me end my career, lengthen my career. “

How did Antonio Brown end up on the Buccaneers?

Sports news published a complete timeline of events when Brown made his Bucs debut, but here’s the shortened version.

Much like the Steelers, the Raiders have had enough of Brown’s unpredictable nature. He had foot problems as a result of a cryotherapy machine accident and headphone drama. He also missed team training sessions, shared a video of a private conversation with coach Jon Gruden and lashed out at general manager Mike Mayock. The Raiders let Brown out in September 2019 after posting a request to exit on Instagram.

The Patriots signed Brown on a one-year contract before the start of the 2019 season, but he only played one game for New England before being released amid allegations of sexual assault. Former Brown coach filed a complaint in September 2019 alleging that Brown sexually assaulted her on several occasions in 2017 and 2018. Brown denied “every allegation in the trial” and said the two had consensual sex. (The trial is still ongoing.) Brown was also charged with sexual misconduct by an artist who worked at Brown in 2017. She claimed Brown sent her threatening text messages following the charge.

Brown didn’t sign until the end of this season and the NFL granted him an eight-game suspension for several violations of the league’s personal conduct policy. The punishment arose out of the allegations of misconduct and the multiple charges related to a January 2020 physical altercation involving a truck driver outside his house in Florida.

Tampa Bay signed Brown in October 2020 and he served his suspension before taking the field for the first time in a Bucs uniform on November 8, 2020.

Why comparing Bell and Brown is wrong

Contract disputes happen all the time, and it happened with Bell and the Steelers. Pittsburgh didn’t give him what he wanted. He sat down, then left. He’s accepted the consequences of sitting down a year after his prime, and he’s happy with his current situation.

With Brown, the details are much more disturbing. Rather than take responsibility for his actions, Brown decided to paint a picture of a man overcoming “adversity.”

“It’s been a long journey on your journey, you know, a year and a half of scrutiny, adversity, you name it,” Brown said during his Super Bowl media session (via CBS Sports). “I went through it, but it didn’t stop me. I didn’t want to give up. I just became perseverant, I made a plan, I wrote my goals, I set my intention for this. that I want with my life. and I just took a step back. …

“I’m grateful to be in this moment, but I know there is still a long way to go.”

Bell and Brown are no longer stars. They may not save a lot of Super Bowl 55 shots because Bell is not part of the offense and Brown is recovering from a knee injury sustained during the divisional round. They used to play for the Steelers, and now they don’t.

But that’s where the comparisons should end. Putting them in the same basket is unfair to Bell and allows Brown to continue without talking about what he has done.

There was a time when Bell couldn’t envision a Super Bowl scenario without Brown by his side. Now they couldn’t be further away.


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