WATCH: Jets' Le'Veon Bell destined for epic comeback season because of these two factors
Despite not playing a single down last season, it’s been quite the year for New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell.
After holding out from the Pittsburgh Steelers, the 27-year-old is now a member of Gang Green. Bell and Pittsburgh just couldn’t get on the same page for a new contract. In total, the whole process lasted over three seasons.
Simply put, it was a mess.
Now on a new team with the contract he desired, Bell has a clean slate and a fresh start in New York. He is now on a team with a young quarterback (Sam Darnold) and a creative head coach (Adam Gase) that is looking to be competitive now and for the future.
Given how things ended in Pittsburgh, and that the Jets' offense is ready for takeoff, these might just be the pieces needed for Bell to have a career year in this comeback campaign.
First off, Bell has one of the up and coming quarterbacks in the league in Darnold. After being turnover prone at the beginning of last year, Darnold’s been much smarter with the ball. He finished his final four games on the year with a 64 completion percentage, throwing six touchdowns to only one interception.
This preseason, Darnold led the Jets to two touchdowns on three of their opening drives. The one opening drive that didn't end with a touchdown ended with a Ty Montgomery fumble. Darnold’s completion percentage was 68, along with 211 yards, two touchdown passes, and no interceptions.
Bell even went on to describe Darnold as a young Ben Roethlisberger.
His head coach will also be a big help. As the coach of the Miami Dolphins, Gase was known for his creativity and got his running backs involved in passing plays often. This is great for a back like Bell, who led the NFL in receptions by a running back in 2017 with 85. Bell’s presence in the backfield, whether it be on the ground or in the air, also sets up his receivers for big years too.
Those are the tools on the field that will help Bell succeed. Mentally, he just has to remember how things ended in Pittsburgh.
It’s safe to assume Bell wants to prove the Steelers wrong. He wants to show them that they made a mistake in not giving him a lucrative, long-term deal. So it’s safe to say that Bell is probably going to put more heart into his performances this season than he has in any other previous season.
Bell’s one hurdle is that he has not played in a game in quite awhile. Assuming he suits up for the season opener vs. the Buffalo Bills, it will be 601 days between Bell's last game with the Steelers and first game with the Jets.
His body needs to get used to being hit. While contact is limited in practices, Bell still wants his teammates to hit him.
But if that says anything, it shows that Bell is itching to get going. He is looking to perform at his peak and be the best player he can be. That is the type of attitude that leads to great performances and even career years. So you can bet on Bell putting 110 percent of his effort whenever he steps on the field.
It's as if Bell is beginning a second career in New York. Expect big things from him in the backfield this year.