INDIANAPOLIS – Jets coach Adam Gase said there are no issues between him and running back Le’Veon Bell.
“What everyone else says, I think we’re both to the point where we really don’t care,” Gase said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “As long as our relationship is good, we’re good.”
Things never seemed to click between Gase and Bell in the running back’s first season with the Jets last year. There was tension from the beginning because Gase was reluctant to sign a running back to a big contract, but former general manager Mike Maccagnan gave Bell a four-year, $52.5 million deal. Bell struggled with the Jets last year, averaging a career-low 3.2 yards per carry and failing to gain 100 yards in a game.
Gase raised eyebrows at the end of the season with a shaky answer when asked if he wants Bell back. Gase said he and Bell have texted since then.
“We talked a lot during the season. He’s not a complainer,” Gase said. “He does his job. He does everything he can to help us win. We’ve had a few text exchanges since the end of the season just checking in on each other. He’s been great for us. He’s done everything I’ve asked him to do. He tries to do things the right way.”
There has been speculation that the Jets might trade Bell this offseason, but GM Joe Douglas said he will not initiate any trade discussions on Bell and said he expects Bell to be back.
“There hasn’t been talk as far as him going anywhere,” Douglas said. “We’re excited about Le’Veon. Le’Veon’s been a great teammate. I can’t tell you how great he’s been. I had a great conversation with him at the end-of-the-season exit meeting. … I know he’s excited to get back. And we’re excited to have him.”
Even if the Jets wanted to move on from Bell, trading him would be difficult. He has a guaranteed salary of $13 million, and there was not much of a market for him last year when he was a free agent.
The Jets’ top priority this offseason is rebuilding their offensive line, something that could help Bell in his second season with Gang Green.
“I wouldn’t say his play declined,” Douglas said. “His numbers probably aren’t where he would want them to be. I think we need to do a better job of opening holes for him. We need to put him in good position to be as productive as we he was in Pittsburgh. I think you did see in some of the later games … our entire team did well, but specifically in the Baltimore game, we saw Le’Veon be Le’Veon. That was one of his more productive games. So we have to just put him in those types of situations.”
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