Ravens working out Le'Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman following Justice Hill's Achilles injury
Baltimore's lead-up to the regular season has seen another ball-carrier lose his chance at playing in 2021.
Hill's injury is the second significant one suffered by a Baltimore running back, with J.K. Dobbins' knee injury preceding it, and it leaves the Ravens in need of a running back or two with the regular season just days away.
To address this need, Baltimore is bringing in two veteran backs, Le'Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman, for workouts, according to the league's Monday transaction wire.
Bell began last season with the Jets, the team that handed him a four-year, $52.5 million deal in 2019, but was released by New York in mid-October. He landed with the Chiefs, appearing in nine games and rushing for 254 yards and two touchdowns on just 63 attempts before seeing his role evaporate during the postseason. In Kansas City's AFC Championship Game win over Buffalo, Bell was inactive, and though he dressed for the Chiefs' 31-9 loss in Super Bowl LV, he did not play.
Bell took some time to trash the Chiefs this offseason while still without a team, a stretch of unemployment that has lasted into this week. At 29 years old, a pairing with the run-heavy Ravens might help rejuvenate his career, provided he can rediscover his explosive style.
Freeman, on the other hand, has been on a steady decline for a few seasons. The former $41.25 million man in Atlanta was released after the 2019 season, a campaign in which he averaged a paltry 3.6 yards per carry. Freeman spent 2020 with the Giants, appearing in just five games as an in-season addition following Saquon Barkley's knee injury and failing to make much of an impact, recording an even-lower 3.2 yards per carry.
Unlike Bell, Freeman got another shot to earn a roster spot with a team this preseason, spending it with the Saints, who released him last week.
It's a tale of two former star backs with similar regressions in performance. One (Freeman) seems less likely to regain his form than the other, but Bell remains more of a question mark due to his own lack of production and usage in his most recent stop.
The Ravens have deemed both worthy of trying out. At this point, Baltimore will need help regardless of who's providing it. They're hoping at least one looks good enough to earn a roster spot before they travel to Las Vegas to open the season against the Raiders on Monday night.