pcloudy.png
Thursday June 20th, 2019 5:36PM

Newly signed Le'Veon Bell feels 'amazing' about joining Jets

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Le'Veon Bell is leaving all the number crunching to the critics.

The star running back slept soundly after finally making his long-awaited decision on where to restart his NFL career, agreeing to a four-year, $52.5 million deal from the New York Jets early Wednesday morning and officially signing Thursday.

"The Jets were kind of the team I had in the back of my mind where I wanted to go," Bell said during a conference call. "So, you know, once the numbers made sense to me, it wasn't really a hard decision. I made the decision and I'm happy with the decision I made.

"Today, I woke up feeling amazing. So, I'm happy with where I stand."

The deal, which reportedly includes $25 million in guarantees, had some wondering if he might have made a mistake by sitting out all last season after declining a five-year, $70 million offer from the Steelers and then refusing to sign his $14.5 million franchise tender.

Bell gambled on himself and took a chance — one he's content with, regardless of whether some think he overplayed his hand and shortchanged himself.

"The decision I made is the decision I would do all over again," Bell said. "I don't regret anything that happened. Everything has happened for a reason up until this point. Who's to say if I played last year, if I do go out there and play on a one-year franchise tag and I do get hurt, do I end up in this position today, being with the New York Jets on a beautiful deal?

"Even on the other side of it, if I go out there and play on the franchise tag and I get another 400 carries ... and I come out of the season healthy, who's to say what team is going to take me after another 400 carries? So, like I said, I've contemplated everything I've done. ... I don't regret one thing. I'm happy where I'm at and the decision I made and I'm glad I'm here."

After all, Bell had dreams of being a member of the Jets as a kid.

He grew up in Groveport, Ohio, in a house full of Steelers fans, but his favorite player was Jets running back Curtis Martin. From afar, he wanted to be just like Martin, a playmaker out of the backfield who could change games in an instant on his way to a Hall of Fame career.

Turns out, Bell has carved out quite an impressive career of his own. He rushed for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns in five seasons for Pittsburgh, and caught 312 passes for 2,660 yards and seven scores as one of the most versatile and dangerous offensive players in the NFL. His 128.9 yards from scrimmage per game over his career is the best mark in the NFL since the 1970 merger.

And, now, he'll be able to get back on the field and make his mark for the team Martin once carried.

"When the season ended, it was kind of like all the stars kind of aligned to the Jets," Bell said. "I'm glad we made it happen and everything worked out."

Oh, and those comments over a year ago when Bell shot down a fan who jokingly offered him $60 million to play for the Jets, or when he said during last year's Super Bowl that it would take $100 million for him to come to New York?

Well, that was then.

"I mean, that was just me being on Twitter and TMZ talking," Bell said with a chuckle. "That's all that was. The situation I'm in right now, I wouldn't change it for anything in the world."

Bell's arrival comes at a time when the Jets are building around second-year quarterback Sam Darnold, who showed promise as a rookie as well as the typical ups and downs young signal callers deal with early in their careers.

But Bell, like many others, saw some promise in Darnold — and is excited about helping the youngster grow and thrive — and win — in the NFL.

"I'm just looking forward to coming in and being, you know, sort of his security blanket, a guy he can rely on," said Bell, who acknowledged that Darnold was "absolutely" a major factor in his decision.

"I'm going to do everything in my power to try to make his job as easy as possible," Bell added. "Seeing a guy like him, so young and so talented and knowing, maybe he needs another weapon. You never know what he can do with another weapon."

That's where Bell comes in. As soon as he shakes off the rust, of course.

"The fact that I took last year off, it sucked having to watch and not play football," Bell said. "But at the same time, at the end of December and through January and February, it's the best my body's feeling ever in my life. There's nothing that can even come close to compare to how I feel."

He hasn't played an NFL game since Pittsburgh's playoff loss to Jacksonville on Jan. 14, 2018. That means it will be a span of 19 months in between game appearances by the time the preseason begins in August.

"Things that count, I'll be ready for that," Bell said. "I've been playing football my whole life, so it's something that kind of comes natural to me, but obviously not having done it at a full competitive level for over a year, so it's going to take minicamp and OTAs and practices to get right, but I've got plenty of time until the regular season starts."

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
O'Rourke begins 2020 bid with big crowds, centrist message
Beto O'Rourke has jumped into the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential race and made his first visit to Iowa, which kicks off presidential nomination season
8:12PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Newly signed Le'Veon Bell feels 'amazing' about joining Jets
Le'Veon Bell says he feels "amazing" about becoming a member of the New York Jets and looks forward to doing everything he can to make quarterback Sam Darnold's life easier on the field
8:09PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Reputed Gambino crime boss shot to death in New York City
The reputed boss of New York's Gambino crime family has been gunned in front of his home, dying a virtual unknown compared with his swaggering 1980s-era predecessor, John Gotti
8:08PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Slow down: Browns GM tempers expectations after Beckham deal
Browns GM tempers huge expectations following team's acquisition of Beckham
7:43PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Santa Anita to ban medication, whips on race days
A filly broke both front legs at the end of a workout on the main dirt track at Santa Anita and has been euthanized, becoming the 22nd horse to suffer catastrophic injuries since Dec. 26
7:33PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Guy, Salt help No. 2 Virginia beat NC State 76-56 in ACCs
Kyle Guy scored 29 points and second-ranked Virginia rallied to beat North Carolina State 76-56 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
6:55PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Some of Clemson defensive linemen workout for NFL executives
Half of Clemson's talented starting defensive front four worked out for evaluators from all 32 NFL teams
4:38PM ( 3 hours ago )
Addition of Antonio Brown 'changed everything' for Raiders
General manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden had meticulously put together a plan to rebuild the Oakland Raiders with three first-round draft picks and a couple of smart free agent signings when they suddenly got sent in a different direction
11:22PM ( 20 hours ago )
The Latest: Source: Adrian Peterson to return to Redskins
Source: Washington Redskins have agreed to terms on a two-year deal with running back Adrian Peterson
9:24PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Online Football
The Latest: Jags part ways with QB Blake Bortles
Jaguars release quarterback Blake Bortles four hours after officially agreeing to terms with Nick Foles
9:14PM ( 23 hours ago )
Jaguars officially agree to terms with QB Nick Foles
Jacksonville Jaguars and free agent quarterback Nick Foles officially agreed to terms on a four-year, $88 million contract
8:37PM ( 23 hours ago )
OMG, OBJ: Beckham's arrival makes Browns instant contenders
Trading places: Beckham's arrival boosts Browns from clowns to contenders
7:05PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - NFL
O'Rourke begins 2020 bid with big crowds, centrist message
Beto O'Rourke has jumped into the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential race and made his first visit to Iowa, which kicks off presidential nomination season
8:12PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Reputed Gambino crime boss shot to death in New York City
The reputed boss of New York's Gambino crime family has been gunned in front of his home, dying a virtual unknown compared with his swaggering 1980s-era predecessor, John Gotti
8:08PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Regulators challenge Boeing to prove its Max jets are safe
Aviation regulators worldwide laid down a stark challenge for Boeing to prove that its grounded 737 MAX jets are safe to fly
8:07PM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: TRESemme drops YouTube star over college bribery
Actress Lori Loughlin's daughter has been dropped by another company that advertises on her popular social media accounts as the fallout from a college-admission bribery case continues
7:53PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Fleetwood, Bradley tied for lead at Players
Bradley, Fleetwood share lead at Players Championship with Woods 5 shots behind
7:52PM ( 29 minutes ago )