FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell added a touch of drama to a routine team scrimmage Wednesday, using social media to question why he spent the latter half on the sideline.
Afterward, coach Adam Gase told reporters that Bell was removed as a precaution because of hamstring tightness. The Jets have experienced several soft-tissue injuries in training camp, and Gase said he didn't want to take any chances with Bell. Bell took issue with Gase's reasoning.
Minutes after Gase's Zoom call, Bell retweeted an injury update from the Jets' in-house Internet reporter, adding, "ain't nothing wrong with my hamstrings." In follow-up tweets, Bell said "its tough to stay loose when you do a bunch of standing around" and responded to a fan, stressing the importance of practice for his performance during the regular season.
its tough to stay loose when you do a bunch of standing around......& I'm used to GOINGGG 🏃🏾💨💨— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) August 26, 2020
exactly...I PRACTICE for a GAME!!! I need to PRACTICE to be great in GAMES!!! duh https://t.co/AcOUMBOgdt— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) August 26, 2020
The Gase-Bell relationship has been under the microscope since the Jets signed the former Pittsburgh Steelers star to a four-year, $52.5 million contract in March 2019, when it was reported that Gase didn't want to spend that much on a running back.
In recent interviews, Bell has spoken glowingly of Gase -- and vice versa -- which made Wednesday's development so surprising.
Bell, 28, reported to camp in the best shape of his life, predicting a career year after a disappointing performance in 2019. On Wednesday, he got the ball on the first two plays of the scrimmage -- and that was it.
He played the first and third series, with Frank Gore and rookie La'Mical Perine handling the remainder of the reps in the six-possession scrimmage. Perine, a fourth-round pick from Florida, broke a 79-yard touchdown run against the second-string defense.
Gase said that Bell is the kind of player who won't take himself out even if he's banged up.
"So that's why we pulled him out; he won't do it on his own," said Gase, who indicated last week that Bell is the best-conditioned player on the team. "He'll keep going out there until somebody else pulls him out."
Bell, the Jets' highest-paid player, still considers himself one of the league's top backs even though he rushed for only 789 yards and a 3.2 average in 2019. He's a major piece in the Jets' plans, but the addition of the 37-year-old Gore, a longtime Gase favorite, has added intrigue to the backfield situation.
"He looks the same as he did 12 years ago. I can't explain it," said Gase, who first met Gore while working as an offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers. "It's unbelievable how, when I watch him, I flash back to 2008. He looks the same. I don't know how, it doesn't make sense, but Frank has been one who refuses to listen to what anybody else says.
"He goes out there and he's an old-school football player. He looks good. His burst looks good. His vision is never going to change. It's going to be like that when he's 60. Frank is special. There's a reason why he's third all time in rushing yards."