Le’Veon Bell started another firestorm on social media that has coach Adam Gase again unhappy with the star running back.
Bell had 14 touches in Sunday’s loss to Arizona, but he was only targeted once in the passing game. Afterward, Bell liked several tweets that referenced the lack of targets or suggested the Jets should trade him since Gase doesn’t utilize him properly.
Gase didn’t say no when he was asked if the Jets would consider trading Bell. Gase also said he wished Bell would have come to him instead of liking tweets about his usage.
"I hate that that’s the route we go with all this instead of just talking to me about it," Gase said. "Seems it’s the way guys want to do it nowadays."
Bell did not speak to the media following Sunday’s loss — his first game after spending three straight on injured reserve. Bell also didn’t make himself available to reporters on Monday.
This isn’t the first time Bell and Gase have been at odds over a social media situation. Something similar happened following the Jets’ first scrimmage in the summer.
Gase pulled Bell out when a trainer told him his hamstring tightened up. Moments after Gase told reporters what happened, Bell tweeted that there was nothing wrong with his hamstring, the first of a few missives in which he openly defied his coach.
At the time, Gase told Bell he should talk to him and not rant on social media. They talked it out and Bell said they had an understanding. Apparently not.
"I haven’t had a chance to speak to him on those specific topics yet," Gase said. "It is what it is. I know he’s frustrated that we haven’t won. It wasn’t necessarily the plan of not targeting him in the pass game. It ended up being that way with how they were playing us. That’s what it is."
When asked specifically if the Jets were open to trading Bell, Gase said, "Me and [general manager Joe Douglas] basically talked about the game and nothing directly about anything else."
The Jets signed Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million contract in 2019, and it hasn’t worked out how either party hoped.
Bell’s salary beyond this season is non-guaranteed. The Jets could waive him after the season or try to get something for him in a trade. A three-time Pro Bowl back with the Steelers, Bell has totaled 1,363 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns in 17 games as a Jet. In five seasons with Pittsburgh, Bell averaged 150.9 scrimmage yards per game and scored 42 touchdowns.
The plan coming into this season, according to Gase, was to utilize Bell more in the passing game. He caught his only pass attempt on Sunday for a 7-yard gain.
"Sometimes the defense takes guys away that we’re trying to get the ball to," Gase said. "I get it in the aspect of players they get frustrated when they feel they should be targeted more and get more touches. There’s a lot of guys feeling that way."
Gase wouldn’t commit to quarterback Sam Darnold (sprained right shoulder) or left tackle Mekhi Becton (shoulder) returning this week after missing Sunday’s game. Gase said he would know more when the Jets return to practice Wednesday . . . Wide receiver Chris Hogan suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday. He will undergoing further tests to determine how long he'll be out.