Le’Veon Bell may have a new team after famously refusing to play for Pittsburgh last season, but it would appear that he is still having issues with stealers.
The New York Jets running back returned to his Florida home from the gym last month to find over half a million dollars in jewelry missing and two unidentified female acquaintances gone. The women were described in a police report as his “girlfriends,” according to the Associated Press on Wednesday.
Bell, 27, said he discovered his closet in disarray and all his jewelry gone, per the report. That included a diamond-encrusted “Black Panther” pendant, two gold chains with diamonds and a Rolex watch.
The haul was said to be worth over $520,000. Police in Hollywood, Fla., located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, are investigating.
Before reporting to the Jets for a mandatory minicamp this week, Bell had been spending the offseason in Florida with a personal trainer, skipping organized team activities and a veterans’ minicamp, all of which was voluntary.
Bell said on social media last month that “when it’s time to play football,” he would show up in a Jets uniform, but that he wanted to “stick to the formula that I know works best for me to be the best player I can be.”
That meant that by the time he took a few handoffs Tuesday at the Jets’ facility in Florham Park, N.J., it had been a very long time since anyone had seen him on an NFL practice field. That last occurred in the days leading up the Steelers’ home playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Jan. 14, 2018.
The following offseason saw Bell enter into a protracted contract standoff with Pittsburgh, and when the two sides failed to agree on a multiyear pact, the Steelers placed the franchise tag on the three-time Pro Bowl back. However, Bell refused to sign his one-year, $14.55 million offer, and he sat out the entire 2018 season rather than risk getting injured and losing a bigger guaranteed amount in free agency.
That payday arrived in March, when Bell agreed with the Jets on a four-year, $52.5 million deal, including a reported $35 million in guaranteed money. However, New York had to wait almost two more months to see him in action.
Bell’s contract with the Jets likely did not represent quite the massive amount he was envisioning when he began to balk at Pittsburgh’s offers, per reports, and now he has taken another financial hit.
The apparent robbery may also have dealt Bell an unwanted lesson in being more careful about who he allows into his home, particularly when he is not there himself.