Former Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell doesn't regret sitting out 2018 season

Le'Veon Bell says he wouldn't change his decision to sit out the entire 2018 season while he waited for a new contract.

The former Pittsburgh Steelers running back told Olivia Harlan Dekker and Jerry Ferrara on the "Unleashed" podcast Thursday that he doesn't have any regrets about his missed season but said he did wish he had done things a little differently.

"I'm not sitting here saying I would change or if I had a time machine I'd go back and play," Bell said. "I just think there's different ways I would have went about it. At the end of the day in 2018, everybody just wanted to see me play football. Everybody just wanted to see my play. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to play football. But my mindset, I was on a different mission. I had something else set out to prove. Certain things was getting in the way of that. It turned out the way it turned out. Everything happens for a reason."

For those that don't remember: Bell refused to sign his franchise tag before the 2018 season and instead chose to miss the entire year before hitting free agency the following summer. He wanted a new contract after leading the NFL with 406 touches in 2017. The Steelers reportedly offered him two contracts worth less than Bell's desired $14.5 million annual number, which promoted his year-long holdout.

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Sadly that decision pretty much signaled the end of Bell's football career. While he did earn a lucrative four-year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets in 2019, Bell and the team mutually parted ways early in the 2020 season after 17 games of mediocrity. Bell then bounced around between the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and finally the Tampa Bay Buccaneers between 2020-2021 before being released by the Buccaneers in January. When all was said and done, Bell made around $28.83 million after leaving the Steelers and $44.81 million in his career, according to Over The Cap.

Now, Bell is focused on a new career: boxing. He was scheduled to fight fellow ex-NFL running back Adrian Peterson on July 30, but the match was postponed and no new date has been set yet.

At the very least, Bell appears content with where his life has taken him. Bell already said he's done with football after 10 seasons, three Pro Bowls and two All-Pro selections.

"I couldn't go back and change anything," Bell added. "I wouldn't go back and change anything because I'm proud of who I am today."

Le'Veon Bell is happy with the decisions he's made in his life. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Le'Veon Bell is happy with the decisions he's made in his life. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)