Le'Veon Bell
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New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell held out all of last season, and it made him realize just how much he appreciates this sport.

In 2018, Le’Veon Bell took it upon himself to fight for the money he deserved. The veteran Pro Bowl running back, a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the time, held out for what became the entire season. Contract disputes didn’t become easier on either side, and Bell ended up taking the whole year off.

However, Bell is back on the field and with his new team, the New York Jets. He’s returned to the sport he loves and reflects on how his year off made him realize his extreme appreciation for his profession.

“I think it really hit me, how much I love football,” Bell said in an interview with SNY’s Jeane Coakley. “That was really one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life, sitting out. I’ve been playing since I was like five years old. So from when I was like five, six, seven, eight — all the way up till I was 26 — I’ve been playing football. And it taught me a lot of patience, how to persevere and kind of keep all the negative influence out my life, you know what I’m saying?”

Bell may have fixed the issue with his wallet, signing a four-year, $52.5 million deal this past offseason. However, the team he’s surrounded by is nowhere near the team he was with in Pittsburgh. After the Jets’ most recent loss, New York is now 1-5 heading into their Week 8 road matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Through six games, Bell has racked up 326 yards on 100 carries (3.26 yards-per-carry) with one touchdown. He’s additionally caught 29 balls on 37 targets for 175 yards through the air and one score.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.