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Le’Veon Bell Justifies Non-Participation In Jets’ Practices By Arguing It Makes Him A Better Player

Say what you will about Antonio Brown and his ridiculous antics coupled with his highly selfish demands, but at least he is out on the field for the Oakland Raiders doing what he always does. On the opposite coast, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is already explaining to New York Jets fans why he’s not bothering to show up to anything that isn’t mandatory.

He posted a screenshot yesterday on Twitter of an exchange that he had with a fan on Instagram, in which he was asked if he was going to show up to practice any time soon. Predictably, he had a long and elaborate justification for not being around his new team.

“When it’s time to play football”, was how he began his answer, referring to when he will be around. “I got to stick to the formula that I know works for me to be the best player I can be…I’m not just tryna win football games, I want a ring! I want to desperately show everybody what I can REALLY do”.

He added, “I’ll take the heat right now, everybody will forget about that once January comes around”.

The thing is, Bell is arguing that the best formula that works for him is not to participate in the offseason. But he has only done that twice. Last year, he didn’t even play. The year before that, he had his least efficient season since his rookie year, and he was also coming back from an injury.

I don’t see why he would hold up his 2017 model as being the formula that enables him to be the best player he can be, considering that he got off to a slow start that year and barely posted a 4.0 rushing average when rounding up.

But I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that he’s not suggesting anything so stupid as reporting a week before the season starts, which would result in fines for not reporting to training camp.

It’s true that he’ll have plenty of time to work with the team in training camp—the first time he would actually be in a camp in a few years, though—but I’m finding it hard to sell this as a positive from a public relations standpoint.

It’s been 16 months since Bell has last been on a competitive football field—perhaps even 16 months since he’s touched a football, for all I know. Yet he has no desire to get on the field? I realize that he’s trying to sell this idea that it’s the best for him as a football player in the long run to stay away for now, and thus the best for the team as well.

But how do you not question his love for the game if he only shows up when the paychecks are being handed out? He already got his got his guarantees. The only thing left to do is to play the game you grew up playing. All you need to do to be beloved by your new fan base is to literally participate.

As Keenan Allen told him about his latest musical efforts, “this ain’t it”.

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