Baltimore Ravens open to bringing Le'Veon Bell back after releasing him

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- There's a chance that Le'Veon Bell's departure from the Baltimore Ravens will be a short one.

A day after Bell was waived by Baltimore, coach John Harbaugh said he would be open to having the three-time Pro Bowl running back return to the 53-man roster or the practice squad.

Harbaugh said Bell's release was necessitated by the Ravens needing a roster spot with injured players coming back.

"He can still play," Harbaugh said Wednesday. "We'll just see where we're at going forward. Things can turn one way or another."

Bell, 29, didn't show much explosiveness in his five games with Baltimore, averaging a career-worst 2.7 yards per carry (83 yards on 31 attempts). But coaches and teammates complimented Bell on his positive impact in the locker room and the way he willingly accepted a part-time role.

The Ravens signed Bell to their practice squad on Sept. 7 after their backfield was devastated by injuries. Bell, who was behind Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman in the backfield pecking order, never started a game for the Ravens and never participated in more than 42% of their snaps in a game.

"I really appreciate everything about him: professionalism, attitude, work ethic," Harbaugh said. "Being around him is a joy every single day. He's really a great guy, and he helped us."

Murray could return after missing three games with an ankle injury.

A second-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013, Bell was one of the top running backs in the league from 2013 to 2017, averaging 128.9 total yards per game. That's the highest for an NFL running back over the first five seasons of a career since the NFL-AFC merger in 1970.

After sitting out 2018 due to a contract dispute, though, Bell has been a journeyman, playing for three teams (the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Ravens) in three seasons.

"This hurts but it's been a blessing to be here to say the least," Bell tweeted Tuesday about his time in Baltimore. "I've enjoyed every second of this short period and gotta whole new meaning of what this city is like and it's a great place to be."