After a down 2019 season, NY Jets running back Le’Veon Bell will be entering 2020 with a chip on his shoulder.
When the NY Jets signed Le’Veon Bell to a lucrative four-year, $52.5 million contract prior to the start of the 2019 season, the team was expecting the player who had established himself as one of the best running backs in the league in the years prior to show up.
And the green and white had good reason to anticipate that.
Although he sat out in 2018 due to a contract dispute, Bell is a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro selection who became the first player in league history to total 4,000 rushing yards and 2,000 receiving yards through his first 50 games.
In addition, the 28-year-old rushed for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns on 321 attempts while adding 85 receptions for 655 yards and two touchdowns in 2017, his last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Unfortunately, however, Bell didn’t find as much success last season with the Jets.
In 2019, the Michigan State alum rushed for just 789 yards and three touchdowns on 245 attempts and brought in 66 receptions for 461 yards and one touchdown. Statistically, it was the worst season of his professional career aside from a shortened 2015 campaign.
In terms of what went wrong for Bell, much of the blame has been put on the Jets’ offensive line, which was a liability, to say the least. In addition, head coach Adam Gase drew criticism as well, as many felt as if he misused his star running back.
Bell, however, has refused to put the blame on others, taking full responsibility for his performance. He had the following to say about his disappointing 2019 season when speaking to reporters last week.
“I’ve been hearing it was O-line issues and Coach Gase not getting me the ball. I had to look at myself and [ask], ‘Was I really the best I could be?’ I know I wasn’t. I wasn’t even close. This year is going to be a lot different in that aspect.”
Le’Veon Bell is motivated to have his best season yet in his second year with the NY Jets.
Regardless of what went wrong, it appears as if Bell is nothing short of motivated ahead of the 2020 season.
According to reports, he showed up in Florham Park weeks ago to intensify his training routine, calling on Don Somerville, a former boxer who runs the Different Breed Sports Academy, to assist him.
And since beginning his work with Somerville, Bell has gotten into noticeably better shape, weighing in at around 210 pounds as opposed to his listed playing weight of 222 pounds. His feet are also “much quicker” according to Somerville.
“I told Le’Veon, ‘Three or four years ago, you were the top running back in the league, and now no one mentions your name. That has to be a chip on your shoulder.'”
And it certainly appears that there is indeed a chip on Bell’s shoulder, which could be a good thing for the Jets, who will count on the 28-year-old to aid the offense in both the rushing and passing games.
In terms of personnel, Bell should be better suited to find success this year as well after general manager Joe Douglas completely revamped the team’s offensive line.
Simply put, the team needs Bell to be at his best to find success this season and Bell feels as if that’s exactly where he’s at.
“This has been the best I’ve felt, and I’m ready to show it,” Bell said. ”I’m ready to show this is the best Le’Veon Bell that has ever played in the NFL.”