Le’Veon Bell a no-show at Jets’ voluntary workout
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets hit the field together for the first time this offseason — without their star running back.
Le’Veon Bell was not among the players present Tuesday for the start of the team’s voluntary three-day minicamp. Linebacker Darron Lee, whose role with the team is uncertain, was also not on the practice field.
Coach Adam Gase appeared unconcerned, though, downplaying the absences.
“It’s voluntary,” Gase stressed. “(Bell) was here that first week (of offseason workouts), and we got a lot of good information that week to him.”
According to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, teams with new coaches are allowed to hold a voluntary minicamp early in the offseason program. Teams also hold 10 sessions of organized team activities, which are also voluntary. The Jets’ mandatory minicamp begins June 4.
Gase said Bell, signed as a free agent last month, was with the team during the first week of offseason workouts, and Lee also has been at the facility.
The coach said players who might not attend a voluntary session can keep up to date on what the team is doing through the playbooks remotely on their iPads.
Bell not being at the on-field session Tuesday was magnified mainly by the fact he hasn’t participated in a practice since the 2017 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He sat out all last season after declining a five-year, $70 million offer from the Steelers and then refusing to sign his $14.5 million franchise tender.
The Jets signed him to a four-year, $52.5 million deal that includes $27 million in guaranteed money. During a conference call last month, Bell said he was happy to begin a new chapter in his career and would be physically ready to go when the season starts.
“He has a pretty good training regimen that he goes through,” Gase said. “He knows how to get his body ready for training camp and the regular season. He’s been doing this for a minute.”