The Bucs are making the move with Leonard Fournette "likely" heading to injured reserve with a hamstring injury, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. The Bucs running back was on crutches after Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints. He would miss the remainder of the regular season if placed on injured reserve.
Bell, 29, last played for the Baltimore Ravens, tallying 83 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries in five games. The Ravens signed Bell amid a spate of running back injuries. They released him on Nov. 16, and he has been a free agent since.
Bell's twisting path since leaving Pittsburgh
The four-time All-Pro with the Steelers is now on his fourth team since sitting out the 2018 season amid a contract dispute in Pittsburgh. He signed as a free agent with the New York Jets in 2019. New York released him midseason in 2020 amid the second year of a four-year $52 million contract that came with $27 million in guaranteed money.
Bell then signed as a free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played sparingly as a backup to then-rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, tallying 353 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in nine games. He was a healthy scratch for Kansas City in the AFC championship game and Super Bowl. The Chiefs did not re-sign him. In June, Bell wrote on social media that "I'd retire first" rather than play for Chiefs coach Andy Reid again.
He left Baltimore on better terms, writing on Twitter that he "enjoyed every second" of his time with the Ravens upon his release. Now he has another shot with a contender in Tampa Bay, where he'll reunite with former Steelers teammate Antonio Brown. If Fournette lands on injured reserve, Bell will join a Bucs backfield alongside Ronald Jones and Ke'Shawn Vaughn.