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Tim Benz: Le’Veon Bell’s funny explanation for staying away from offseason practices | TribLIVE.com
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Tim Benz: Le’Veon Bell’s funny explanation for staying away from offseason practices

Tim Benz
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Le’Veon Bell, technically still with the Pittsburgh Steelers, might still be seeing a transition tag put on him for the 2019 season. Maybe.

It’s somehow comforting to know New York Jets fans already are getting used to asking the same question about Le’Veon Bell that Steelers fans had been asking for the past few seasons. 

“So, when is he going to show up?”

Bell has yet to appear for offseason workouts in New York. His absence comes despite the whole Jets roster learning a new offense under first-year coach Adam Gase.

Bell is considered a crucial addition coming from Pittsburgh.

Keep in mind, these workouts are optional. And the former Steelers running back is taking the option to stay away until — apparently — at least the mandatory minicamp June 4-6.

Jets fans have asked Bell why he is staying away. So “Juice” decided to respond via Twitter Monday.

Bell’s absence is nothing new to Steelers fans. However, that message still had to make folks in Pittsburgh laugh. Let’s examine that explanation a little bit more.

“I got to stick to the formula that I know works for me to be the best player I can be. I’m not just tryna win football games, I want a ring!”

And …

“…everybody will forget about that once January comes around.”

Bold words when your new team hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2010. Also, Bell has exactly two wins in the playoffs in his career, both in 2016. So, he’s not exactly an expert.

Also, what is this “formula” he is referencing? Is he suggesting that he plans to get suspended for the first few weeks of the season so he can be rested for later in the year, as was the case in 2015 and 2016?

That was a “formula?”

Furthermore, workload and health never truly correlated for Bell. Sure, he sat out until the regular season started in 2017, and he was great all year, including in the Jacksonville playoff loss when he had 155 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.

However, he participated in training camp and one preseason game in 2016. That was followed by a suspension for the first three games of that season. Yet he wound up with 1,884 yards from scrimmage.

Then — in January — he went out during the first quarter of the AFC title game in New England, citing a nagging groin injury. Yet, he had 337 yards rushing in those two playoff games in the weeks before the loss to the Patriots. So, by Bell’s logic, his early January success was somehow related to staying away from camp in May.

But I guess his late-January injury had nothing to do with that? We pick and choose, I suppose.

Apparently, the freshness he is describing was more attributable to missing practices in May when he’s never touched, as opposed to September games where he would’ve been tackled 30 times per week.

Again, though, Bell was suspended for those. Absence via stupidity, not planning.

Bell also ended up missing the playoffs in 2014 and 2015 with injuries that were cataclysmic — momentary occurrences that had nothing to do with spring workouts or lack thereof.

Plus, the team failed to qualify in 2013. So what does Bell know about a successful path to navigate through injury landmines or to a Super Bowl? His injury history has been random, scattered and irregular. He strangely has been equal parts durable workhorse and injury-prone magnet.

We all know the real reason Bell isn’t on the field yet. He never screwed around and missed camps and practices prior to lashing out against the franchise tag the last few seasons in Pittsburgh.

Contrary to what Bell is saying, staying away from practice isn’t about some “formula.” He’s trying to work off the jet ski weight. Period. Too much time in the strip clubs while protesting the Steelers’ tag last year. Not enough time working out.

I guess a few pick-up basketball games at LA Fitness didn’t burn off the spare tire.

Bell just is not in practice shape yet. And he doesn’t want people to notice. It’s as simple as that.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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