As voluntary minicamp begins, New York Jets head coach Adam Gase downplayed the absence of new stud running back Le’Veon Bell.
The Jets unofficially took the field for the first time in 2019 on Tuesday morning, which marked the opening of voluntary minicamp. Bell was not among the reporting offensive parties and linebacker Darron Lee was also a no-show. League rules mandate that all offseason programs are optional, save for a mandatory minicamp in June.
Head coach Adam Gase downplayed the connotations behind their failure to show.
“It’s voluntary,” Gase said after practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, per Andy Vazquez of the North Jersey Media Group. “It’s not one of those things where we’re going to spend a ton of time asking questions. When the guys show up, we’re going to try to help them get better.”
Bell was signed to a four-year, $52.5 million deal this offseason. He sat out the entirety of the 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers’ season over a dispute about franchise tag status.
While the nonattendance may not offer the best optics, Gase, himself a New York newcomer, offered only positives toward the rusher’s offseason developments.
“He has a pretty good training regimen that he goes through,” Gase said, again per Vazquez. “I don’t even remember the last time he had an offseason, it’s been a few years to where he was going through this kind of stuff. So he knows how to get his body ready for going through training camp and the regular season. So he’s been doing this for a minute.”
Perhaps more concerning is the disappearance of Lee. The Jets’ 2016 first-round draft pick has had his name surface in trade rumors all offseason. With draft day looming, it’s possible he could be included in a deal to get the Jets back into Friday’s second round. If Lee remains on the team after the weekend, the Jets will have another decision to make concerning his fifth-year contract option. The decision must be made by May 3.
The Jets will hold another voluntary workout in Florham Park tomorrow morning before embarking on the three-day draft process.