Deland McCullough discusses the trust involved for both Le’Veon Bell and the Chiefs.
When Le’Veon Bell signed with the Kansas City Chiefs last week, the signing made plenty of waves for a number of reasons. From Bell’s dramatic exit from Pittsburgh to the Chiefs already-dangerous offense to the dumpster fire known as the New York Jets (Bell’s former employer), there were plenty of angles from which to analyze the Chiefs new addition.
One aspect of the signing that has likely gotten lost in the shuffle of more obvious points is the amount of trust that both parties have for one another. In a league that keeps the business aspect of relationships front-and-center with contractual guarantees that are anything but, both Bell and the Chiefs came into the process with a level of trust exhibited in one another.
Coming into K.C., Bell made it clear that he’d already contacted rookie starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire to check in with him on signing in K.C. Even more, his posture in all things has been team-first—a perhaps surprising turn for some fans who likely saw his departure from the Steelers in a selfish light. Moves like this only served to emphasize what they were hearing from him in their own talks.
Running backs coach Deland McCullough highlighted the team’s appreciation for Bell’s humility and approach in his comments to reporters on Wednesday. “[Bell] is a guy who has respect for has respect for what’s going on,” said McCullough. “He has a level of character that maybe people don’t know about, but obviously it showed itself in that situation.”
"“I know the conversation I had to him previous to him making his final decision, I was very impressed, just with what some of his goals are and different things like that,” he continued. “They melded into what we want to get done here. There was no level of selfishness of anything. He said, “Look, I’m coming in to get in where I fit in. I can help and I know you guys will use me the right way. Whatever that is, I will do.”"
The Chiefs, of course, trust Bell in return to still be able to get the job done. Not only did Bell sit out the entirety of the 2018 season in a holdout from the Steelers, but his production since his return has been lackluster on a new team. During his five-year career in Pittsburgh, Bell averaged 4.3 yards/carry, but that total dropped a full yard in 17 starts with the Jets.
The Chiefs are trusting that can be blamed on offensive ineptitude—a last place team that ranks pitifully in every offensive metric. Adam Gase is on the hot seat in New York already, and McCullough is a believer that Bell will show what he can do again in Andy Reid‘s offense.
"“He brings a veteran who’s got it done at a high level in this league,” said McCullough. “Clearly he still has some juice in the tank. Very smart. He’s been real influential with just having conversations with Clyde as well as the room with some of his experience.“But not just an experience guy, but a guy who’s going to be able to go out and do some things for us—route-running, hands, juice through the whole, leg drive, vision. Some of the things I’ve seen in the couple days have been really impressive to me, primarily his attitude, number one, and number two, his ability to learn.”"
Bell will take the field for the Chiefs for the first time on Sunday afternoon in the team’s first of two matchups against the Denver Broncos in Week 7.