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Adam Gase says Le'Veon Bell won't play until regular season

Jets running back Le'Veon Bell stretches during warmups

Jets running back Le'Veon Bell stretches during warmups before facing the Falcons in a preseason game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Thursday in Atlanta. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

Jets coach Adam Gase announced after Sunday night’s annual Green and  White practice that tailback Le’Veon Bell, who hasn’t played in either of the first two preseason games, won’t play in the final two against New Orleans and Philadelphia.

“I was about 99 percent sure heading into the preseason [that Bell wouldn’t play],” Gase said. “It was all based off of how he practiced, conditioning, those type of things. We talked about it before we started. I told him we wanted to increase the reps last week. We’re going to do the same. We’ll just get him as game-ready as possible.”

The season-ending knee injury suffered by linebacker Avery Williamson on Thursday reinforced Gase’s decision to sit Bell.

“I was about 99.9 percent sure what we were going to do [with Bell],” Gase said. “[Williamson’s injury] probably made it 100.”

When asked after Sunday night’s practice at MetLife Stadium if he had any regrets about keeping Williamson in the lineup too long against the Falcons, Gase replied, “Yes, I do.”

It’s almost unheard of for a coach to take that kind of blame, but Gase is second-guessing himself for not taking out Williamson earlier. The injury occurred late in the second quarter.

“Just looking back on it, hindsight’s 20-20, but I wish I would have gotten him out of there a series earlier,” Gase said. “I talked with him, and it’s on me. I’m the one who has to make that call to get him out of there, and we didn’t. It’s a shame, because he was having a good camp.”

Gase said he spoke to Williamson about his regret at not taking him out sooner.

“He’s as positive as you can get right now,” Gase said. “I know there are going to be some ups and downs, but I told him we’re going to need him to help these young guys. We’re going to need him around everybody. We talked about a plan once he gets on his feet as far as what we want to do with him with meetings and trying to help him keep learning as a football player.”

Gase said safety Marcus Maye, who is returning from shoulder surgery, could play against the Saints on Saturday night.

“Marcus will be back this week. He’ll be full go,” Gase said. “He started today. We’ll see how this week goes.”

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