Going to the New York Jets was supposed to be a fresh start for Le'Veon Bell. He needed it after the way things ended between the All-Pro running back and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
When Bell was released by the New York Jets on Tuesday after the team was reportedly unable to find a trade partner, it was a rock-bottom point in the career of a former superstar who is only 28 years old.
Bell spent the first six years of his NFL career in Pittsburgh. In three of those years, he was an All-Pro and a Pro Bowl pick. In 2016, he helped the Steelers reach the AFC Championship game. Bell was regarded as arguably the most talented running back in the league.
When the Michigan State product wanted to get paid like the most talented running back in the game, Bell got into a contract dispute with the Steelers. It got so bad that Bell sat out the entire 2018 season.
Before the 2019 season, Bell joined the New York Jets on a four-year, $52.5 million contract that made him the NFL's highest-paid running back. Things appeared to be trending up for the New York Jets, who that same offseason used the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft on quarterback Sam Darnold and hired a promising young head coach in Adam Gase.
Just over one year later, things have fallen apart.
The New York Jets are 0-5. Their offense is the lowest-scoring in the NFL. Darnold is at or near the bottom among starting quarterbacks in multiple statistical categories. Gase is reportedly on the hot seat. And Bell saw action in only two of New York's five games, rushing for 74 total yards with zero touchdowns as a rusher or receiver.
In a prepared statement, the Jets acknowledged that they tried to trade Bell but couldn't secure a suitable deal.
Bell's only public reaction was one tweet with a praying-hands emoji, and another saying he has a lot to prove.
The inability to find a trade partner certainly has less to do with Bell's skill and more to do with his hefty price tag.
Bell was never a good fit with coach Gase, who reportedly didn't want the Jets to sign the running back in the first place. One reason Gase's job is in jeopardy may be the fact that he couldn't make things work with probably the best overall football player on the team.
In the New York Jets' 30-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Bell carried the ball 13 times for 60 yards and caught one pass for seven yards. He declined to speak to the media after the game, and later that day he "liked" several social media comments from media members suggesting the Jets should trade him.
The decision to release Bell, their most dynamic offensive player, comes not long after the New York Jets parted ways with their best defensive player. During the offseason, the team traded disgruntled All-Pro safety Jamal Adams to the Seattle Seahawks.Published 14 Oct 2020, 12:09 IST