Former Star NFL Running Back Says He Smoked Weed Before Games

Le'Veon Bell wasn't just smoking opposing linebackers back in his heyday.

by Rowan Nathan · June 05, 2023

Le'Veon Bell wasn't just smoking opposing linebackers back in his heyday. The former Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets running back, recently admitted to smoking herb before games in an appearance on the "Steel Here" podcast.

“Looking back on this, that’s what I did,” Bell said, via ESPN. “When I was playing football, I smoked, bro. Even before the games, I’d smoke and I’d go out there and run for 150, two [touchdowns].”

When Bell was playing, the NFL was much more harsh about marijuana use than they are now. In 2014 the Michigan State alum was arrested for marijuana possession in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and was later put on probation. Bell was also suspended multiple times for failed drug tests, resulting in several NFL games missed over his career.

Bell is the latest of many pro athletes to come forward about cannabis use during their careers amid a shift in major sports leagues' stance on pot. The NFL and NBA have both effectively stopped suspending players for cannabis use.

And apparently ganja didn't derail Bell's career. The former Steelers second round draft pick was twice named a first-team All-Pro during his five years with Pittsburgh, and was regarded as one of the best players at his position in the League. After a long contract dispute with Steelers, Bell signed with the NY Jets, where his career began to slide. No amount of weed could fix the Jets terrible offensive line. He then briefly played for the Chiefs, Ravens and Buccaneers. Although he hasn't played since 2021, Bell refers to himself as a free agent, and not officially retired. If his playing days are in fact done, maybe Bell will join the many retired pro athletes, including former NFL stars Calvin Johnson and Ricky Williams, working or investing in cannabis businesses.