Le’Veon Bell is still available, but he insists he’ll play this year and Adam Gase is the reason for his decline.
As the calendar gets set to flip to June, Le’Veon Bell is among the big-name and/or broken down running backs who are still available. But the former Steeler, Jet and Chief insists he’ll play this season, telling someone on Twitter he’ll sign somewhere when he’s ready.
After sitting out the 2018 season in a contract dispute with the Steelers, Bell quickly became one of the cautionary tales for paying a running back. The New York Jets gave him a four-year $52.5 million deal, perhaps against head coach Adam Gase’s will (at that price, anyway), and Bell promptly delivered 3.2 yards per carry over 15 games in 2019. So much for fresh legs after a year out. He was heavily involved though, with 245 carries and 66 catches.
Le’Veon Bell blames Adam Gase for his decline
In a series of tweets including the aforementioned declaration he’ll sign with a team when he’s good and ready, Bell said he’ll prove his doubters wrong in 2021. He also lamented his lack of opportunities and bad play-calling during his time with the Jets.
“I don’t consider a “HB dive” on 3rd & short of 4th & short EVERY TIME is an opportunity,” Bell wrote. “we line up & they callin out the play, that’s not opportunity, on top of the play being a dive…
Bell was placed on IR early last season by the Jets, as Gase admitted he left him in too long with an injury in Week 1. Bell eventually was cut, and he landed with the Chiefs. In nine games for Kansas City, he had 63 carries for 254 yards and two touchdowns. He added two carries in one playoff game, as the Chiefs had little use for him.
The list of players who have a resurgence once they get away from Gase seemingly grows every year. Bell had the eighth-most touches in the league in 2019 (311), so volume was not the issue. Play-calling and a lack of talent around him are also easy crutches for Bell to lean on as the cause of his struggles. The Chiefs don’t have those issues, they just saw Bell as an extra body at a position where it make sense to have extras.
It will be interesting to where Bell signs, assuming he does sign somewhere without a notable injury to open a door. Blaming Gase without naming his name is convenient to have everyone ignore reality-Bell is 29 years old now, and as we near June no one has even had reported interest in him this offseason.