Contrary to the situation sparked by Antonio Brown, incoming New York Jets rusher Le’Veon Bell showcased good relations with James Conner.
Having left the Pittsburgh Steelers, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell both showed a reluctance to truly leave the Steel City behind. Bell, the newly minted New York Jets running back, is apparently willing to keep better relations with his former Steeler teammates.
With Brown apparently willing to reopen the war between the war of words with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Bell took to Twitter to reveal his relationship with former teammate James Conner remains strong. On Monday afternoon, Brown took an attempted jab at Smith-Schuster on Instagram. The current Oakland Raider shared a private message Smith-Schuster sent to him while the latter was still at the University of Southern California.
One day prior, Brown had further stoked the Steeler fires by calling Smith-Schuster out for a crucial fumble in the Steelers’ Week 16 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Hampered by the defeat in New Orleans, the Steelers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
While Brown apparently meant the message sharing as a jab toward the Steelers’ second-round pick from 2017, several fellow NFL veterans, including Los Angeles Rams safety Eric Weddle, criticized Brown for the stunt.
Shortly after Brown’s post, Bell took to Twitter to show he remained on good terms with Conner, the man filling his place on the Pittsburgh depth chart. Conner sent over a lengthy text of appreciation to Bell, who posted a screenshot of the conversation on Twitter.
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) April 8, 2019
With Bell sitting out the entire 2018 season due to a contractual dispute, Conner was called to step up. The sophomore back responded with a breakout year, earning 973 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, the latter mark being good for third in the league.
Conner was one of the most inspirational stories in the league, overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma before embarking on a successful career with the University of Pittsburgh. He was chosen in the third round by the local Steelers in the 2017 draft’s third round, one round after Smith-Schuster.
Conner had spoken about his relationship with the future Jet during his rise to glory.
“Anytime I do something good on the field, I always come back to the locker room [to] a text from him saying ‘good game’ or ‘nice move right there’,” Conner said in an October edition of “First Things First” on FS1. “Me and Le’Veon are super cool. He’s a great person. With him holding out, people are going to call him selfish, but that’s not the case at all. It’s just business, and that’s my guy.”
The Jets are obviously hoping that Bell, returning with 5,336 career rushing yards and two first-team All-Pro nominations in town, will make the on-field contributions he made in Pittsburgh. However, Bell can also serve as a mentor to the younger rushers he’ll be working with.
Shortly after Bell’s signing, the Jets released veteran Isaiah Crowell after one season of service. The retained backs include Elijah McGuire and Trenton Cannon.
McGuire will enter his third season of NFL service, but his 2018 campaign was abbreviated by a foot injury that put him on injured reserve. Cannon, the Jets’ sixth-round pick last season, earned 113 rushing yards, as well as 144 receiving yards on 17 receptions.