First Call: Le’Veon Bell favored in boxing match vs. fellow NFL star; ESPN’s ‘surprise offseason standout’ for Steelers

Tuesday’s “First Call” has an off-the-radar offseason star for the Pittsburgh Steelers. We have odds on the Le’Veon Bell-Adrian Peterson boxing match.

A Penguins assistant loses out on a head coaching gig.

And we tell you about a mammoth gambling payout thanks to the Colorado Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup.

Put up your dukes

Former Steeler Le’Veon Bell has signed a contract to box against fellow former NFL running back Adrian Peterson.

According to Mike Coppinger of ESPN Ringside, it’ll be a heavyweight boxing exhibition on July 30 at Arena in Los Angeles.

Both men are free agents. Peterson is 37 years old, 6-foot-1, 220 pounds; Bell is 30, 6-foot-1, 225 pounds.

Neither player has boxed professionally, and this bout won’t count as a professional debut.

Former NBA player Nick Young is also on the undercard. He’ll fight rapper Blueface. already has odds out on the match. Bell is the early favorite at minus-180 (5/9). Peterson is the underdog at +140 (7/5).

Let’s see if the fight actually happens or if Bell holds out for more money at the last minute.

Pricey profit

Speaking of cashing in at the gambling window, how about this nugget from Yahoo’s Sam Cooper?

He posted a story about a bettor who turned a free $500 promotional bet into $269,000.

According to Cooper, in December, a gambler used a promotional deal from MGM on a three-team parlay. He had the Colorado Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup, the Los Angeles Rams to win the Super Bowl and the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA title.

At the time, the Rams were paying out at +1000 to win the Super Bowl, Golden State was at +600 to win the NBA title. And the Avalanche were at +600 to claim the Cup. The odds for that parlay were +53800, leading to a payout of $269,000 after Colorado clinched the Cup Final with a 2-1 win in Game 6 on Sunday.

Not a bad return for a free promo bet, right?

Hey, hey, Heyward came up with a list of “surprise offseason standouts for all 32 NFL teams.”

ESPN Steelers reporter Brooke Pryor nominated rookie H-back/tight end Connor Heyward.

“It’s hard to be truly under the radar as Cam Heyward’s younger brother,” Pryor wrote. “But the rookie Heyward impressed in offseason workouts and showed a chemistry with first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett in a nice snag during a two-minute drill in minicamp. Heyward, selected in the sixth round, figures to be in a hybrid tight end/fullback role in an offense that values versatility in its skill players. Because he has been working mostly with tight ends and receivers, Heyward probably won’t be competing for the fullback roster spot with Derek Watt, making it likely both find roles on the 2022 team.”

I didn’t pick up as much flash from Heyward as Pryor did in spring practices. Although, if I were to pick one guy, I’d actually pick someone from the position group she did. Zach Gentry looked really bulked up to me (in a good way, in case Najee Harris is reading) and appeared prepared to be a better version of the second tight end than he was for much of last year once Eric Ebron got hurt.

Sticking around

Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden isn’t leaving town just yet.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Reirden was one of four candidates for the Chicago Blackhawks vacancy. But Reirden didn’t get the gig.

Luke Richardson did instead. He has been an assistant with the Montreal Canadiens for the past four seasons. Richardson replaces Derek King who was hired to be the Hawks’ interim head coach after Jeremy Colliton was fired in November.

King and Canucks associate coach Brad Shaw were the other two candidates for the job.

Richardson was also an assistant coach for the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders before going to Montreal. He served one game as head coach for the Canadiens during the 2020-21 Stanley Cup Final when Dominique Ducharme was sidelined due to covid-19 protocols.

Pair of ex-Pirates

Former Pirates Tyler Anderson and Chad Kuhl locked horns on the mound Monday night in Denver.

Kuhl was the starting pitcher for the homesteading Colorado Rockies. Anderson entered the game 8-0 for the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers. But it was Kuhl who shined Monday.

He threw a three-hit, complete game shutout as the Rockies won 4-0.

Kuhl is now 5-5 with a 3.49 ERA. Anderson, who gave up four earned runs and 10 hits, drops to 8-1 with an ERA of 3.23.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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