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Adam Gase to ‘keep an eye’ on Le’Veon Bell’s touches

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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New York Jets head coach Adam Gase made it clear at the annual league meeting that the team was not going to overwork new star running back Le’Veon Bell.

The New York Jets made one of the biggest splashes — if not the biggest splash — of the offseason when they signed star running back Le’Veon Bell to a hefty four-year, $52.5 million contract.

Bell is expected to play a pivotal role in the Jets offense both in 2019 and beyond and it’s likely that the team will operate around him as their premier playmaker. That said, they must be wary of overusing him as the two-time First-Team All-Pro is fresh off of sitting out for the 2018 season following a lengthy contract dispute.

Fortunately, it seems that new head coach Adam Gase is well aware of this potential issue. During his press conference at the NFL’s annual league meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona, Gase expressed concern about potentially wearing Bell out too quickly.

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He was quoted saying, “He plays a position that is very physical. You can wear a guy out [with] too many rushes, too many touches, too many snaps, too many practice snaps. We’ll keep an eye on that. This is not going to be [a situation where] where we burn him out in the first six months.”

This is encouraging to hear and not at all a surprising strategy that the Jets will employ. Bell has a lot of touches under his belt already and after sitting out a year, it’s certainly understandable for the team to want to ease him back into things.

From 2013-2017, only Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy totaled more overall touches than Bell who accumulated 1,541 over the five-year span. In fact, one of the primary reasons that Bell decided to sit out and not sign the franchise tag in 2018 was because of concerns about his workload.

There were concerns that another season of 350+ touches would hurt his long-term value and, in turn, affect his chances of receiving a big payday either from the Pittsburgh Steelers or on the open market. But even now that he is paid, it’s unlikely the Jets give him too heavy of a workload right out of the gate.

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Gase’s comments only seem to solidify this which is good news for fans wishing to see long-term (as well as short-term) success from Bell.

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