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Le’Veon Bell wouldn’t have joined the Chiefs without Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s blessing

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a multi-year All-Pro seeking permission from a rookie to join a new team.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Just over a month ago, the Kansas City Chiefs signed former Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell to a one-year, NFL minimum-salary contract.

We already knew that Bell had spoken to tzhe Chiefs’ first-round rookie running back Cylde-Edwards-Helaire before coming to Kansas City. We also knew that Bell had made contact in order to gauge how the young running back would feel about having a veteran running back join the team.

But what we didn’t know was that without Edwards-Helaire’s go-ahead, Bell wouldn’t have come to the Chiefs.

“We had conversations before I even got here,” Bell told reporters on Friday, “so once I kind of got the clearance with Clyde — that he was going to be OK with everything, going to be all right — that’s when I think I started getting more engaged with the coaches. Like, ‘Let me see a little more depth.’”

As far was Bell was concerned, it was a matter of respecting what Edwards-Helaire had already established during his rookie season.

“He’s a young player — a young, talented player — [who] I’ve been watching from the beginning of the year. I know he’s having a good year. So I didn’t want to be a guy to, maybe like, step on his toes. So I was talking to him before I even made the decision — kind of seeing how he was — because if I had got the vibe that he didn’t really want me here, I probably wouldn’t have come — know what I’m saying? But he seemed like he was just so open — like, ‘Let’s get a ring. Let’s do that.’ So he kind of like, welcomed me.”

As yet, Bell hasn’t been a big difference-maker. Over three games, he’s had 54 yards on 16 rushes and 26 yards on four receptions. But it’s also true that in those three games, the Chiefs didn’t really choose to emphasize their running backs. And besides... Bell is still figuring everything out.

“I think each and every week, each and every day, I’m still learning,” said the seventh-year veteran. “I’m still learning the players around me, the offensive line, so I think its natural over the course of the season I’ll continue to get better at it. I think it’s come along well. I think I’m picking up where I need to pick up, the guys are helping me when I need help. I think things are moving along pretty well.”

And after being (rather famously) unhappy with his two previous NFL teams, Bell sounds like a man who has found a home.

“I love the culture over here,” he said. “I could tell the first day I stepped foot into the building, I kind of got the vibe – didn’t fully understand it yet, but I had the vibe of it — and I think over the last three weeks, over the course of the last month, I think I’ve been getting acclimated to it: learning the guys, hanging out with my teammates, getting to know them a little better, them getting to know me a little better. But I wouldn’t ask for anything in the world. I’m glad I chose here.”

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