Le'Veon Bell Optimistic About Jets' Future, Committed to Rebuild

Author:
Publish date:

Le'Veon Bell and the Jets (6-9) enter Week 17 three games under .500, having struggled for extended portions of the 2019 season. But despite the team's inconsistent play, Bell wants to return to New York next season. 

"I wouldn't have signed here for four years if I didn't want to be here four years," he told reporters Friday.

Bell signed a free agent contract worth $52.5 million over four years this past offseason, but he has had the worst statistical year of his career. Through 14 games of action, he's rushed for only 748 yards and three touchdowns, adding 425 receiving yards and a single receiving touchdown. 

By comparison, in his last season with the Steelers, the Michigan State product rushed for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns. He also recorded 85 catches for 655 yards and two scores.

When Bell joined the Jets he discussed the importance of wanting to get increased security.

"Ultimately, I wanted to get a long-term contract," he told SI's Jenny Vrentas. "And, be happy and go somewhere where I feel valued and get guaranteed security over the course of my contract of playing football."

And he admitted Friday that he knew success on the field wouldn't happen overnight. 

"When I did sign here, I didn't expect us to go 16-0, you know what I'm saying?" Bell said. "I knew it would be a process. I understand everything. We got a young quarterback, a whole group of guys coming in -- new offensive coordinators, head coaches. ... I understand what goes on."

The team was reportedly looking to deal Bell before this year's trade deadline, but his $13.5 million in 2020 limited the market and might also prevent him from being moved this offseason. The 27-year-old, however, has no contract guarantees after next season.

New York ends its 2019 campaign this Sunday when it travels to Buffalo to face off against the playoff-bound Bills. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET.