New York Jets: Le’Veon Bell has emerged as a true team leader

New York Jets Le'Veon Bell (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
New York Jets Le'Veon Bell (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

As the New York Jets struggle through yet another trying season, the team and its fans owe a great deal of gratitude to Le’Veon Bell for his continued leadership and character. 

Well, that one week where the New York Jets won was fun, wasn’t it Jets fans? Sadly, the honeymoon following the Jets’ 24-22 upset win over the Dallas Cowboys was short-lived.

The Jets were absolutely embarrassed by the Patriots this week, losing by a whopping 33-0 margin. To make matters worse, quarterback Sam Darnold had one of the worst games of his young career (five turnovers).

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The Jets are now 1-5, and they are coming off a humiliating primetime loss to their most hated rivals. Making the playoffs this year is now all but impossible, and the team’s many flaws call into question how long it will take before they’re good again (if they are ever good again).

Even the most starry-eyed optimist wearing the rosiest of rose-colored glasses would struggle to find any bright side to the Jets’ season so far.

Just the same, allow me to try and find a cause for optimism.

In the midst of a miserable, painful season, Le’Veon Bell has emerged as a leader for the Jets.

Surrounded by a weak offensive line and sub-par quarterback play, Bell has not been lighting up the stat sheet. His current 3.3 yards per attempt this season is a full yard below his career average. He hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1, and he hasn’t had a 100+ yard game since Week 2.

But Bell’s value to the organization has extended far beyond what he does on a football field.

The NFL screwed Sammy over…there’s not one player in the NFL who’s cool with having every sideline convo broadcasted to millions…there’s a reason we’ve never heard other QB’s frustrated on the sideline like that before…that’s crazy, @NFL did Sam dirty as hell

— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) October 22, 2019

No matter how bad things have gotten this year, Bell has never once quit on the team. He has played hard every snap. He has continually encouraged his fellow teammates and the fans.

Bell even supported Darnold after his atrocious five-turnover performance this week.

During the game, a mic’d up Darnold mentioned “seeing ghosts.” ESPN decided it was appropriate to play that particular audio clip during its Monday Night Football broadcast, causing a media frenzy to form around Darnold.

Bell not only encouraged Darnold after the game, but he also publicly questioned why ESPN would air audio of Darnold voicing his private frustrations in the first place. Even in the worst moments, Bell has unequivocally had his quarterback’s back.

Darnold is talented. He is also only 22-years-old. Bell’s veteran presence and support will undoubtedly play a huge role in the young quarterback’s development. That alone goes a long way towards justifying his large contract with the Jets.

Here’s one thing I gotta say. There was a lot of talk before we signed Le’Veon about what kind of guy he was. The media painted him out to be a horrible person, bad teammate, lazy player, but I can’t tell you enough how first class of a teammate he’s been. Real one!

— Jamal Adams (@TheAdamsEra) October 22, 2019

After Bell held out for a whole season while with the Pittsburgh Steelers, many Jets fans understandably had questions about Bell’s work ethic and character. I was among them.

Bell has more than proven us wrong. Not only has he managed to avoid trouble and controversy, but he has also been one of the leaders holding this tattered flailing team together.

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The Jets season thus far has been almost entirely characterized by the negative. Bell has been one of the few positives. The Jets organization, and all its fans, owe him plenty of thanks.