Running back Le’Veon Bell didn’t last long on the free-agent market after being released by the New York Jets.

The Chiefs are signing Bell to a one-year deal, the NFL Network reported Thursday evening. The Chiefs later tweeted, “Welcome to Chiefs Kingdom, Le’Veon Bell!”

Terms with the 28-year-old former Pittsburgh Steelers star were not disclosed.

Bell becomes another explosive weapon for Chiefs Coach Andy Reid to incorporate in the offense.

Bell joins rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson and DeAndre Washington in the Chiefs’ backfield.

Edwards-Helaire, the team’s first-round pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, is the current starter, but there’s little doubt who projects as the lead rusher.

While Bell’s time with the Jets didn’t go well after he joined them in 2019, it wasn’t long ago when Bell was one of the NFL’s elite running backs as a two-time All-Pro selection and three-time Pro Bowler with the Steelers.

From 2013-17 in Pittsburgh, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Bell tormented opponents with 5,336 yards rushing, 2,660 yards receiving and 42 total touchdowns (35 rushing) before he sat out the 2018 season in a contract dispute.

Despite being regarded as one of the NFL’s top all-around running backs, Bell was miscast with the Jets and gained just 863 yards rushing in 17 games before his release Monday night.

Nevertheless, it’s clear what Bell’s new teammate, including quarterback Patrick Mahomes, think of the running back’s talent.

“Obviously, a tremendous player,” Mahomes said Thursday. “Someone that can do it all,. someone that can run the ball.”

The Chiefs signaled their desire to bolster the backfield in the wake of Damien Williams electing to opt out of the 2020 regular season because of COVID-19. Before Week 1, the team expressed iinterest in Adrian Peterson before he signed with the Detroit Lions.

The presence of Bell gives the Chiefs a luxury to scale back Edwards-Helaire’s workload in his rookie season. Edwards-Helaire leads the team in rushing with 344 yards, but hasn’t topped 100 yards rushing in a game since the season opener.

Bell won’t be eligible to play in Week 6 because of strict COVID-19 protocols, which include testing for up to six days before he’s cleared to join the team.

The timeline, however, means the Chiefs should have Bell available to play in Week 7 against the Denver Broncos to set up a matchup against the Jets in Week 8 at Arrowhead Stadium.

FRED DEAN, the fearsome pass rusher who was a key part of the launch of the San Francisco 49ers’ dynasty, has died. He was 68.

Fred Dean

Fred Dean waves to fans after his speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008. Dean, the fearsome pass rusher who was a key part of the San Francisco 49ers’ dynasty, has died. He was 68. Mark Duncan/Associated Press

His death on Wednesday night was confirmed Thursday by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Dean was hospitalized last week with COVID-19 and was on a ventilator and in intensive care, according to former teammate Dwight Hicks.

Dean was an undersized pass rusher who began his career as a second-round pick with the San Diego Chargers in 1975 and ended it in the Hall of Fame after being named an All-Pro twice and making four Pro Bowls.

Dean was an All-Pro for the Chargers in 1980 but had his biggest impact after being traded to San Francisco during the 1981 season.

“While it cannot be said that Fred Dean’s greatness as an NFL player began when he came to the 49ers in 1981, I can say as the owner of the team that the greatness of the 49ers began with Fred Dean’s arrival in San Francisco,” former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo said when he introduced Haley at his Hall of Fame induction.

Dean’s career in San Diego ended in a contract dispute in 1981, and he was traded to San Francisco in October.

He credited the trade for reviving his career.

“I actually stepped on the other side for a minute, breathed in the air, looked at it as a rainbow,” he said before being inducted into the Hall of Fame. “I made it to the other side of the rainbow. For me, that was the pot of gold. It was a different lifestyle for me altogether. I felt free to perform once I got there.”

The Niners were just starting to take off under Coach Bill Walsh and quarterback Joe Montana, and Dean was the final piece they needed to become champions.

The Niners were 3-2 when Dean arrived with hopes of ending an eight-year playoff drought. After only a couple practices, Dean played his first game with the Niners against Dallas.

“Bill Walsh told me they hadn’t beat ’em in a while,” Dean recalled. “It was in the paper and everything about how they had not. For me, it was a platform for me to prove a point, that I still had it and could do it.”

He did just that, dominating Dallas’ offensive line in a 45-14 win that proved to be the difference in giving San Francisco home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Sacks were not an official statistic yet, but Dean reportedly had 2½ in that game, as well as several other pressures and penalties drawn.

San Francisco then won the rematch with the Cowboys three months later in the NFC title game, 28-27, thanks to “The Catch” by Dwight Clark on a pass from Montana. The Niners won their first Super Bowl two weeks later against Cincinnati.

Dean played four more seasons in San Francisco, winning a second Super Bowl following the 1984 season.

Dean had seven sacks, 93 tackles and four fumble recoveries in his rookie year. His career sacks total was near 100, but the number is unofficial because sacks were not an official NFL statistic until 1982.

Unofficially, he had 15½ sacks in 1978. He contributed 12 sacks in 11 games with the 49ers in 1981. His career best was 17½ in 1983, including a then-NFL record six in one game against New Orleans.

“He exemplified many of the values learned from this great game – commitment, integrity, courage – over the course of his life,” Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker said.

Dean was inducted in 2008.

“I could consider it being born by the Chargers but having a renewal life with the 49ers,” Dean said in his Hall of Fame speech. “And being with the 49ers, I found that on the other side of that bridge, on the other side was my rainbow, the true ending of a rainbow. Not financially, but with all the people there.”

CHIEFS: Running back Le’Veon Bell, who was released Tuesday by the Jets, is signing a one-year deal with Kansas City, the NFL Network reported.

Terms were not disclosed.

Bell becomes another explosive weapon for Chiefs Coach Andy Reid to incorporate in the offense. He joins rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson and DeAndre Washington in the Chiefs’ backfield.

• Kansas City 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 winning streak. Mike Remmers finished the game at guard and will get the start in Buffalo, Coach Andy Reid said, and Mecole Hardman will take most of the snaps in Watkins’s place.

BROWNS: 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 are already missing star running back Nick Chubb because of a sprained right knee.


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