The Baltimore Ravens running back room has been hampered by injuries this preseason.
First, presumed No. 1 RB J.K. Dobbins went down in the final preseason game against Washington with a torn ACL. Then Justice Hill reportedly suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during practice, leaving the Ravens with just two running backs on their 53-man roster.
Baltimore went looking for reinforcements and Tuesday it reportedly reached a deal with an old foe to fill the void.
The Ravens are signing former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell to their practice squad, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Schefter added that Bell "is likely to be added to the (Ravens') 53-man roster when ready."
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Bell lit up the Ravens during his time with the Steelers and has more rushing yards vs. Baltimore than any other team. Of course, Bell is a different player now than the two-time all-pro he was with the Steelers.
After sitting out the 2018 season amid a contract dispute with Pittsburgh, Bell signed a multi-year deal with the New York Jets. But he was released during his second season with Gang Green. He landed with the Kanas City Chiefs but had minimal impact and basically saw his role disappear entirely in the playoffs. Bell said in June that he would "never play for Andy Reid again."
Should he acclimate well and make the team proper, Bell is likely to get more opportunity than he did in Kansas City – the Ravens have led the NFL in rushing each of the last two seasons and finished second in 2018. Gus Edwards has assumed the No. 1 role in the Baltimore offense with Dobbins injured, but the only other running back currently on the roster – Ty'Son Williams – has not carried the ball during a regular-season game.
Still, it's hard to envision Bell having anywhere close to the impact he had during his Steelers heyday – he has just a 3.4 yards per carry average in 26 games since returning to the NFL in 2019. Given the acrimony that accompanied his split with the Steelers, though, Bell's mere presence – should he be on the squad – when the Ravens visit Pittsburgh on Dec. 5 will add even more drama to one of the NFL's great rivalries.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Le'Veon Bell signing deal to join Baltimore Ravens practice squad