KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs have signed running back Le’Veon Bell two days after he was released by the New York Jets.
The team announced the move Thursday to add another potential dynamic offensive player to an offense that already features Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
“Kansas City, #ChiefsKingdom, thank you for the opportunity let’s go!” Bell tweeted.
Bell was cut by the Jets after a disappointing tenure in New York that lasted less than two full seasons. Bell and coach Adam Gase appeared to not mesh since the running back signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with $35 million guaranteed last year as a free agent.
Bell spent his first six NFL years in Pittsburgh, and was an All-Pro twice and ranked second in the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 7,996 from 2012-17.
He sat out the entire 2018 season in a contract dispute with the Steelers. He became a free agent and joined the Jets in March 2019 and was expected to be a dynamic presence in Gase’s offense.
Instead, Bell never consistently flashed the skills that made him one of the NFL’s best dual threat running backs before sitting out. He rushed for 789 yards and three touchdowns and also wasn’t as prominently featured in the passing game as expected, catching 66 passes for 461 yards and a score.
Bell averaged 3.22 yards per carry in two seasons with the Jets, the second lowest in the league among qualifying backs during that span. He also had the fifth-lowest yards per touch from scrimmage at 4.0
Newton, Gilmore return, both on track to play
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Patriots quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore returned to practice for the first time since testing positive for the coronavirus, putting both players on track to be in the lineup when New England hosts Denver on Sunday.
Newton, who missed New England’s loss at Kansas City after his Oct. 2 positive test, was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Gilmore was activated from the list Thursday, following his Oct. 7 positive test. Practice squad player Bill Murray also returned from the COVID list Thursday.
Defensive tackle Byron Cowart is the only Patriots player currently still on the list. He tested positive on Oct. 11.
According to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, a player who tests positive can return after 10 days have passed since their initial positive test or following two consecutive negative virus tests 24 hours apart.
Gilmore’s return to action wouldn’t be good news for a Denver passing offense that ranks 27th in the NFL, averaging 214 yards per game. The Broncos also have also thrown six interceptions in 2020, the third most in the league behind only Philadelphia (nine) and Minnesota (seven).
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was noncommittal when asked Thursday about the likelihood of Newton and Gilmore being ready to play this weekend.
“We’ll have to see how it goes. We haven’t had an opportunity to do much in the last 10 days or so,” Belichick said. “That’s with everybody, it’s not specific to any one individual player. But just in general, we’ve talked about getting back into things and evaluating as we go.”
Browns send “ill” Beckham home, QB Mayfield feeling better
CLEVELAND — Baker Mayfield’s injured ribs aren’t the only concern this week for the Browns.
Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was sent home feeling ill on Thursday as coach Kevin Stefanski said the team acted out of caution because of COVID-19 concerns while preparing for this week’s matchup against the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers.
Stefanski said Beckham did not test positive for the coronavirus. He took another test before leaving the team’s facility and the Browns will find out those results Friday.
“You have to be careful,” Stefanski said. “I don’t want to assume anything, but with all of our guys we will make sure we just follow the protocols and just be safe. We have been on high alert, that is just 2020.”
Beckham has been a major factor in Cleveland being 4-1 for the first time since 1994. He has 21 catches for 294 yards in three games, and the polarizing three-time Pro Bowler has stated numerous times that he’s as healthy and confident as he’s been in years.
The Browns (4-1) are already missing star running back Nick Chubb because of a sprained right knee, and Stefanski wasn’t ready to consider his offense without Beckham.
“I don’t know if I want to go there yet,” Stefanski said. “He’s a big part of what we do.”
In addition to the injuries to Mayfield, Chubb and Beckham’s illness, wide receiver Jarvis Landry has been limited this week with hip and rib problems. Landry crawled off the field after taking a wicked hit to the side early in last week’s win.
Chiefs down several offensive pieces with Buffalo on deck
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs will be without offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele and wide receiver Sammy Watkins when they visit the Buffalo Bills on Monday night for a game that was pushed back because of COVID-19 protocols.
Osmele tore tendons in both of his knees and Watkins hurt his hamstring during Sunday’s loss to the Raiders, which also ended the Chiefs’ franchise-record 13-game win streak. Mike Remmers finished the game at guard and will get the start in Buffalo, coach Andy Reid said Thursday, and Mecole Hardman will take most of the snaps in Watkins’s place.
“I’m prepared,” Hardman said. “I did it last year when Tyreek (Hill) went down and Sammy went down one time, too. I’m prepared for the challenge. It’s nothing I can’t handle. I’m practicing hard, doing what I can do. Just see what Coach Reid has in store for me, what they want me to do, and just do it the best I can.”
Osemele is likely to have season-ending surgery, though it has not yet taken place. Watkins could miss more than one game, but Reid said that placing him on injured reserve is not an option that is being discussed.
Middle linebacker Anthony Hitchens also missed Thursday’s practice with an illness, though it was not related to COVID-19, and fullback Anthony Sherman will be unavailable on Monday night after he landed on the COVID-19 list.
In other words, the Chiefs (4-1) will be down at least three starters when they try to get back on the winning track against the Bills (4-1), who also lost this past week to doubly foil what was nearly a showdown of unbeaten teams.
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