Content available exclusively for subscribers
It’s not ideal.
If it was ideal, teams wouldn’t even have off-season programs, they would just tell everyone to do their own thing, and report to training camp in late July.
For Le’Veon Bell to not attend his first off-season program with the Jets, after just signing, is a little bizarre.
Perhaps Bell was getting tired of fans on social media questioning him on on not attending the Jets’ off-season program, so he made a statement on Instagram.
“I got to stick to my formula that I know works for me to be the best football player I can be. I’m just trying to win football games. I want a ring. I want to desperately show everybody what I can what I can really do. I’ll take the heat right now. Everybody will forget about it once January comes around.”‘
There might be two issues with this quote.
He’s with a new team, new teammates and a new playbook. The spring is a good time for players to learn schemes and bond with teammates. Wouldn’t it be good for him to be around for all this?
Secondly, why make a playoff prediction? Isn’t that what he’s doing by saying, “Everybody will forget about it once January comes around.”
The Jets have missed the playoffs eight years in a row and have gone 5-11, 5-11 and 4-12 the last three years. They have a lot of work to do, and the focus now should be on learning, bonding and getting in shape. Process thinking. Talking playoffs is a third rail issue right now.
There is now way around it. Bell not attending the Jets off-season program, ESPECIALLY after just signing, is a bad optic, and he clearly knows it, because he felt the need to go on social media and defend himself.
Look, he had plenty of time to his own thing last year when he took the entire year off.
And honestly, players do get a lot of time off in the off-season; from the end of the off-season until March, and then most of June and July before training camp.
Adam Gase can talk about the spring being voluntary when asked about Bell, but you don’t need to be a mind-reader to know Gase would like his new featured back in Florham Park to get comfortable with the system and his new teammates.
Somebody I know whose been around the Michigan State program a long time recently told me about Bell: “He’s changed. He was a yes-sir, no-sir kind of guy in college.”
It’s cliche, but there is no “I” in team, and Bell disregarding his FIRST off-season with his new team, from an optic standpoint, looks like an “I” move.
But what can the Jets do?
He’s a heck of a player and they don’t want to piss him off before the season, especially since the off-season is voluntary. They can’t kick over an ant hill and make a big deal about this.
But what he is doing, by not attending his FIRST off-season as a new Jets, can’t be viewed as ideal for Gang Green.
May 7, 2019
Premium will return by 9:30 pm on Wednesday.