Two former NFL running backs have agreed to take each other on away from the gridiron in a boxing match.
Whilst they may have gone down as two of the best running backs of their era and players who looked as if they were going to be with their respective teams for the remainder of their playing careers, it’s fair to say that Le’Veon Bell and Adrian Peterson bounced around the league an awful lot.
Bell, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers then took his talents to the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whilst Peterson started off with the Minnesota Vikings before moving on to the New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Commanders, Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks.
But despite all of that bouncing around the country finding teams to play for in the latter stages of their career, it seems as if they still have the energy to do something else with their careers as it was announced that the two of them will be fighting in an exhibition bout on the undercard of the McBroom vs. AnEsonGib fight that will be taking place in Los Angeles in July.
Two men with Canton-bound careers?
On the field, there is no doubting that both men during their prime years were incredibly special individuals.
Starting with Peterson, who had high expectations coming out of the University of Oklahoma with the #7 pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, he was the main man for the Vikings for the best part of a decade, with 7 seasons of more than 1,000 yards – including his MVP season in 2012 where he rushed for 2,097 yards, just 8 short of the NFL record – and leading the league in rushing 3 times:
2012 Adrian Peterson is the best RB I have ever seen— Barflaan Tedoe 🇱🇷 (@The_Barftender) September 15, 2021
AP carried us to the playoffs pic.twitter.com/SIiXoWbx2L
He was traded away at the end of the 2016 season when injuries were holding him back, and although he did enjoy a brief renaissance with the Commanders, he just wasn’t the same as his electrifying early days.
Bell on the other hand had a much shorter prime, but was certainly no less exciting to see.
Drafted in the 2nd round back in 2013, Bell immediately launched onto the scene with the Steelers with some electric performances and although his number of games was seriously depleted for a number of issues including injuries, suspensions and holdouts due to contract disputes, his unique style of running – in which he would wait for a hole to develop rather than rushing through the one that was assigned – made him one of the most exciting players in the NFL when his prime years emerged in 2016 and 2017:
A possible move into a new career?
With Peterson at age 37 and Bell and 30, both of whom have had a number of injuries in their career, this fight could end up being their way of staying relevant in the near future as it looks as if their NFL careers could be over.
Although it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that players have moved from the gridiron to either the squared circle or the octagon:
Former NFL DE Greg Hardy won his pro MMA debut tonight by KO in just 57 seconds. pic.twitter.com/txod4GHT1H— Stadium (@Stadium) June 13, 2018
Former NFL receiver Chad Ochocinco is making his boxing debut tonight. He was dropped in the fourth and final round.— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) June 7, 2021
You imagine a lot of that would be dictated by how well they do in July, but it certainly wouldn’t be a total shock to see this become the start of a new life for them.