With his practice-squad elevations exhausted and fellow running back Latavius Murray currently dealing with an ankle injury, former three-time Pro Bowl selection Le’Veon Bell was promoted to the Ravens’ 53-man roster on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 6 and was elevated to play in two of the last three games. Bell has carried 12 times for 29 yards and a touchdown this season, but the uncertain status of Murray, who has started each of the last three games, made the decision to promote the former Pittsburgh Steeler an easy one. Bell was signed to Baltimore’s practice squad on Sept. 7 and needed a few weeks to get into football shape after not being with an NFL team over the spring or summer.
Despite Bell, Murray, and Devonta Freeman combining to average an ordinary 3.86 yards per carry this season, all three scored a touchdown in Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers as the Ravens ran for 187 yards, their highest rushing total since the Week 2 win over Kansas City. Head coach John Harbaugh has praised the work of the veteran trio who weren’t expected to be on the team until the season-ending injuries to running backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill late in the preseason.
“They’re guys who’ve been around, and they know how to play the game,” Harbaugh said Monday. “We’ve thrown a lot at them because there was a lot in our offense, and they’ve had to learn a lot. But they bring a lot to the table already in terms of understanding knowledge. They’re playing their styles, they’re fitting them into our scheme, and they’ve done a great job — all three of those guys.”
Should Murray not be able to play against Cincinnati this coming Sunday, the Ravens would likely activate second-year running back Ty’Son Williams, who has been a healthy scratch for two of the last three games despite beginning the season as the starter.
In other roster news on Tuesday, the Ravens signed guard James Carpenter and inside linebacker Joe Thomas to their practice squad. The 32-year-old Carpenter was a first-round pick in 2011 and has made 121 career starts in the NFL while Thomas, 30, has appeared in 87 games in his career. Baltimore protected Carpenter, Thomas, defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, and offensive tackle David Sharpe on their practice squad for this week.