FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Le'Veon Bell was on the sidelines more than he was on the field for the Jets’ scrimmage on Wednesday, and that didn’t seem to sit well with the former Pro Bowl running back.
Adam Gase said the Jets held Bell back for “precautionary” reasons with tightness in his hamstring. Bell quickly responded on Twitter: “ain’t nothing wrong with my hamstrings.”
That was the first of a few tweets in which Bell appeared to be voicing his displeasure and disagreement with his lack of playing time in the scrimmage.
The Jets couldn’t even get to the regular season before another Bell controversy popped up.
Bell’s first season with the Jets was filled with more drama than big plays. He was unhappy with his lack of touches some games, and stories began to emerge that he and Gase didn’t have a good relationship. Bell also made news when he was out bowling in the wee hours of the morning before missing a game with the flu.
But Bell returned to the Jets this year saying he has a great relationship with Gase and took responsibility for not being at his best last season. That was exactly two weeks ago. The lack of Bell drama didn’t last long.
Bell took the field with the first-team offense at the outset, and it appeared he and veteran Frank Gore were alternating series. But Bell played in only two of the offense’s six series. Gore played in three and rookie La’Mical Perine played in one.
Bell had a 1-yard run and caught a pass for 6 yards on the first two plays of the scrimmage. He was targeted another time in his brief stint on a day when the first-team offense struggled to move the ball.
Gore and Perine, who had a 79-yard touchdown run, showed much more explosiveness than Bell. But they also received more opportunities.
“We didn’t want anything to happen with the amount of soft-tissue [injuries] we have had,” Gase said.
Bell spent the offseason getting into prime shape. He entered training camp the lightest he’s been since high school to put himself in a better position to succeed this year. He said he’s “ready to show this is the best Le’Veon Bell that’s ever played in the NFL. “
With no preseason games, all the players have is practice to get ready for the season, and Bell intimated that his tightness came from inactivity Wednesday.
its tough to stay loose when you do a bunch of standing around......& I’m used to GOINGGG,” Bell tweeted.
When someone tweeted at Bell with an Allen Iverson-related joke that “we talking about practice,” Bell quickly responded, “exactly...I PRACTICE for a GAME!!! I need to PRACTICE to be great in GAMES!!! Duh”
Gase has said repeatedly he usually has to hold Bell back because he wants to keep working and doing more in practice. Gase said that again Wednesday after being asked whether he would sit Bell out of Thursday’s practice.
The Jets, who have a long list of players not participating because of injuries, are off Friday. So that would give Bell an extra day to rest.
“I just know right now it was precaution,” Gase said. “He hasn’t been somebody that comes out of practice. I’ll always have to hold him and be like, ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea for you.’ But he’ll try to go back out there.
“We pulled him out. He won’t do it on his own. He’ll keep going out there until somebody else pulls him out.”
Gase said he would talk it over with the trainers before deciding whether Bell would practice Thursday or how much he would do. Bell may not be too happy if he is held back again.