As Jets veterans and coaches reported to training camp, they expressed confidence in what running back Le'Veon Bell will add to the team.
"The one thing that I like about him is he's going to bring the best out of everybody. He's going to bring the best out of everybody every single day," said defensive lineman Steve McLendon. "And all he wants to do is win. He wants to be a champion as well as everybody else in this locker room."
McLendon knows a thing or two about playing with the versatile running back. Entering his tenth year in the league and fourth with the Jets, the 6'3", 310-pound lineman was a teammate of Bell's in Pittsburgh from 2013-15 and he's certain he'll bring a top-notch product to the field.
"He's a great player. What you see is what you get — trust me," McLendon said. "He's going to come in here ready to play football. I know that for a fact. I have seen it. I'm glad we have him, and not just him, but I'm glad we have every guy here. It's going to be exciting."
A three-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All Pro, Bell brings a wide variety of skills to the offense. In three out of his five seasons with the Steelers, the 6'1", 225-pound RB rushed for more than 1,200 yards and his 35 rush touchdowns tied for third-most in franchise history. To top it off, Bell also presents a receiving threat, having already recorded 2,660 total receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns.
"He's such a talented individual, and so gifted in terms of what he can do and so athletic. I think we're going to give him some freedom out there to move the way he wants, run some option routes and do what he can within the scheme of the offense," said quarterback Sam Darnold. "It's going to be fun to see what he does, but at the same time it will be fun to use him as a decoy if he gets going for other guys to get involved because we've got a lot of talent out there on the field."
With training camp officially kicking off with a practice Thursday, it will mark the first time Bell is back in pads and preparing for an NFL season since 2017.
"I think some of it is the mental mindset of how they approach it and if they're worried about things, but I don't think he's concerned about that," said Adam Gase. "I think he knows he's in great shape. He's been studying the offense this summer and he's ready to go. He hasn't played in a long time and I think he's excited."