After being released by the New York Jets, Le’Veon Bell signed a one-year deal to join the Kansas City Chiefs. With the move, a disastrous marriage between a poorly run franchise and a disgruntled running back came to a merciful conclusion.
On Friday, Jets head coach Adam Gase was pressed for his reaction to Bell landing with the defending Super Bowl champs.
It was a doozy.
“Focusing on Miami, man,” he replied, referencing this Sunday’s showdown against the Miami Dolphins.
The idea that Gase cannot commit mental capital to arguably the biggest story surrounding his team this week because he is too busy preparing for an outing he will inevitably lose is truly hilarious.
Yikes Aaron Gordon. https://t.co/fmz8bvfSkC
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 16, 2020
To be clear – the irreparable damage that occurred to the relationship between Bell and the Jets was not solely Gase’s fault. Bell also deserves blame for being a temperamental primadonna whose production did not justify his behavior.
Over the course of his stint in New York, Bell rushed for 863 yards and three touchdowns, good for 3.3 yards per carry. He also recorded a mere 1,250 yards from scrimmage last season. That is not what the front office had in mind when it inked him to a four-year, $52.5 million deal.
Bell is objectively at fault for how things transpired with the Jets, but so is Gase. And the fact that the head coach cannot take a reflective position on the week all this went down and admit that everyone involved probably should have handled things differently speaks to why he won’t be around for much longer.
Bell, meanwhile, will likely use his opportunity in Kansas City to repair his image and reputation.
Over the course of five years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bell rushed for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns. He also caught 312 passes for 2,660 yards and seven touchdowns.
The three-time Pro Bowler will look to replicate that sort of production with a Chiefs team that ranks 13th in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 119 and 10th in rushing yards per carry with 4.5. Those numbers are a bit misleading, though. They are significantly bolstered by a stellar Week 1 showing from Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who exploded for 138 yards and a score against the hapless Houston Texans.
Since then, the Chiefs have dropped to 108 rushing yards per game – good for 19th in the league. Moreover, they have not recorded a single rushing touchdown.
Bell will aim to remedy that, but not this week. Because of COVID-19 protocol, he is not eligible to participate in Monday’s showdown against the Buffalo Bills.
Kansas City will look to get him ready in time for Sunday, Oct. 25 when the team faces off against the Denver Broncos.
Bell, for his part, is jazzed about what is to come.
“Kansas City, #ChiefsKingdom, thank you for the opportunity,” he wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go.”
Mrs. Bradley Beal had an interesting response. https://t.co/xAt6WQpfi3
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 15, 2020
This is going to be a big year for Bell. If he can return to form and show that Gase’s Jets were in fact the problem, then his status will be restored and he will continue to be recognized as one of the league’s premiere running backs.
However, if he doesn’t show flashes of his Steelers days, then it will be hard not to look at him as anything other than simply being a product of that system.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.