Le’Veon Bell said Tuesday he won’t be playing in the NFL this season as he shifts his focus to boxing.
The running back made the announcement at a Social Gloves press conference to promote his upcoming fight against compatriot Adrian Peterson on July 30 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
“Boxing is something they always say you can’t box. Last year I sat almost all year to focus on boxing because I kind of knew I wanted to make the switch. I know I won’t be playing this year because I want to focus on boxing,” he said 30-year-old Bell.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection made it clear that this isn’t a “once-off” fight for him.
“I think that’s like my introduction to show what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it. Just an introduction,” he said.
Peterson, who appeared at the press conference via a video feed, said he could see boxing in his future but appeared to be keeping his options open for continuing his NFL career.
“It’s something I definitely see in the future, depending on how things play out for me,” said Peterson, 37.
The former MVP and seven-time Pro Bowl pick, who is fifth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 14,918 yards, said there’s a ring at his Houston gym.
“We have a lot of guys who spar all the time and I’ve had a chance to get together with these guys a couple of times in the past and here recently, obviously to prepare for the fight. I was just kind of grinding, so I could see that making a difference going forward,” Peterson said. “So even after this fight, I’m still going to stay in my routine and wait for the next opportunity that comes my way.”
Bell’s last Pro Bowl season was in 2017, when he rushed for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns for the Pittsburgh Steelers. After enduring the entire 2018 season in a contract dispute with the Steelers, he signed as a free agent with the New York Jets in 2019, only to be fired from the team midway through the following season. He had 429 rushing yards for four different teams over the past two seasons.
Bell finished last season, his eighth in the NFL, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while Peterson finished his 15th NFL season on injured reserve with the Seattle Seahawks. Both are free agents.
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34233365/leveon-bell-says-shifting-focus-boxing-play-nfl-season Le’Veon Bell says he is shifting his focus to boxing, won’t play in NFL this season