Jets' Bell explains why sitting out preseason won't hurt him for NFL opener
Le'Veon Bell is not worried about preseason as the New York Jets star eyes week one of the NFL campaign.
Jets head coach Adam Gase announced on Sunday that running back Bell would not make his debut until the team's NFL opener, despite sitting out all of 2018 as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers amid a contract dispute.
Even though Bell has not played in more than a year, the three-time Pro Bowler believes he can return to play at an All-Pro level at the start of the new season.
"I don't think me getting four plays in the preseason is gonna help me in Week 1 for the game," Bell told reporters on Wednesday. "It's gonna be me just getting ready for playing and practice. When the game comes, then I'll be ready."
Bell, 27, signed a four-year, $52.5million deal with New York this offseason.
"Each and every day I've been getting better, so I think the coaches see it," Bell said. "And they've been putting more reps on me, you know, in practice.
"I try to get a little contact in practice. I think the defensive players do a good job of giving me good contact but not really trying to hurt me or take me to the ground too much."
Bell will be second-year quarterback Sam Darnold's go-to guy this season and looks forward to working with the young signal-caller.
"I hate watching Sam play because I want to be in there with him," Bell said. "I just want to be in there because I know how special he is. ... Just watching him each and every week, he will continue to grow. The ball, it just comes out so crazy. I'm ready to play with him and it'll be fun."
Darnold threw for 2,865 yards, 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his first year as a starter and led the Jets to a 4-12 record.
Meanwhile, Bell has totalled 5,336 yards on the ground and accounted for 42 total touchdowns in five seasons.