New York Jets stud workhorse Le’Veon Bell, draped in Gotham Green, officially throws down the 2019 gauntlet at mandatory minicamp.
Confident, huh? Expect nothing less from Le’Veon Bell, the football running, lyric spitting, fun-time workhorse widely-regarded as the NFL’s best.
He’s arrived. The New York Jets prized offseason acquisition provided the world its first look at No. 26 in the newly-branded Gotham Green at Florham Park, NJ.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) June 3, 2019
Jets mandatory minicamp on Tuesday provided the momentous, long-awaited event. It also reminded us New York didn’t acquire a soft-spoken, ease-his-way into action type individual.
The hip-hop-football dual-threat displayed the moxie that indicates an official throwing down of the gauntlet.
“Maybe people forget a little bit just because they haven’t seen it in a long time. It’s normal. That’s what humans do. But I feel like once I go out here, I play, first game coming up, people will be reminded,” via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
Bell, 27, was dynamite for the Pittsburgh Steelers spread over five seasons. With 5,336 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and 35 scores on the ground to go along with 2,660 yards and seven touchdowns on 312 receptions, the Michigan State product’s “arguably, the best running in the game” status remains secure.
Of course, a full season off from football takes its toll. Habits fall and second-nature doesn’t come as quickly. Jumping back into the groove is a definite reality, no matter the athlete or name.
The year off prompted many to think Bell would have jumped at the chance of OTAs. He didn’t. As the usual star fab rages on, Bell, along with so many other big-name players (i.e. Odell Beckham Jr.), passed on Jets voluntary offseason activities.
Some may have actually bought into the idea Bell would arrive perhaps more softly-spoken.
Those “some” (and when I say some, I mean very few) lost those bets.
“It’s going to be a special duo in the backfield,” Bell said in reference to his new teammate, quarterback Sam Darnold.
"It's going to be a special duo in the backfield." – @LeVeonBell ?
— New York Jets (@nyjets) June 4, 2019
Perhaps the greatest question lingering in the football universe revolves around Bell’s relationship with the head coach.
Adam Gase didn’t want Bell at the money Mike Maccagnan dished out. This was the hot rumor following Maccagnan’s firing. Some even went as far as to say Gase didn’t want Bell at all.
Making it tricky is Gase’s current status. He’s not just an NFL head coach; the man is running the entire football operation at the moment. His interim general manager tag gives him final say on essentially everything personnel related—all coming after his former colleague spent a boatload on veteran stars.
Recent history, such as the Jay Ajayi ejection down in Miami, suggests the Gase-Bell relationship won’t last. At least, on day one, Bell seems as coachable as the burgeoning 12-year-old Little League star.
“I knew once I got up here, football is football, so I’m going to learn the offense,” he said. “That was really the biggest question mark, me learning the offense. Terminology here is different than where I was before [with the Steelers]. But it’s still maybe the same play. It’s just me putting the play together,” via Darryl Slater of NJ.com.
“I literally was trying to listen to every word of the play,” he said. “A lot of times, you’ll hear a play, but people [in the huddle] will tell you what you’ve got [on that play, for an assignment]. But I went to the quarterbacks and literally listened to the whole play, because I wanted to know what everybody’s got. That’s going to only help me understand the offense quicker.”
Obviously, Bell is a smart football player. Simply breaking down his film forces the notion as completely true. (It’s also the most overlooked aspect of his game.)
As long as he and Gase remain on the same page, all is well in Jet land. Sam Darnold dealing with drama of that ilk would resemble a possible worst-case scenario (just behind season-ending injury).
Day one of Le’Veon Bell in Florham Park is in the books. He arrived juiced up, donned the Gotham Green with pride, and said more correct things than the freakish James Holzhauer on Jeopardy.
The runaway hype is now real. It’s live. He came, he smiled and he impressed … with Bells on.