Le’Veon Bell might really be regretting not re-signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. After a miserable first year with the New York Jets, things aren’t looking a whole lot better for Round 2.
To his credit, and it’s no surprise for Steelers’ fans who knew his work ethic, Bell trained like a madman this offseason and showed up in terrific shape. That isn’t the issue. Everything else seems to be.
Bell has been limited by the team during training camp. After one beat reporter noted Bell was held out of an August 26th practice due to hamstring tightness, Bell fired back with a denial and took a shot at the team.
The Jets aren’t necessarily wrong for holding Bell back. Saving him from preseason wear and tear while evaluating their other running backs like rookie La’Michal Perine and ageless wonder Frank Gore.
That was followed up by speculation he might not be the Jets’ bellcow. Head coach Adam Gase, infamous for not wanting to sign Bell in the first place, reportedly loves Gore (they were together at Miami) and could end up splitting carries between the two. Bell and Gase reportedly cleared the air following those tweets but it’s been a rocky relationship from the beginning.
The New York Post wrote a scathing article on Bell Friday afternoon. Titled, “Le’Veon Bell’s ugly training camp has Adam Gase headed right for disaster,” author Brian Costello painted a bleak picture of the situation.
“Bell has not had an impressive training camp. Anyone who has watched practice over the past two weeks would have Bell ranked third among the running backs with Frank Gore and rookie La’Mical Perine ahead of him if they were being honest…All of that has looked like talk as Bell has lacked explosiveness in practice, looks slow to hit holes and seems to now lack the vision that once made him arguably the best running back in football.”
How true is that assessment? Impossible for us to say. Bell’s run style can sometimes make him look like he’s moving at a slower speed than usual, his uncommon patience to wait, wait, wait, before hitting the hole.
What we do know is Gase and the Jets have been adding running backs left and right over the last five months. Signing Gore. Drafting Perine. Even bizarrely acquiring Kallen Ballage from Miami when the Dolphins were ready to release him. None of that seems to be a vote of confidence in Bell’s direction. Feels like only a matter of time before the situation becomes unmanageable and the Jets look to officially cut ties with Bell.