For Yeremiah Bell, the decision to sign with the Jets after spending eight years with the division-rival Dolphins didn’t figure to be easy.
But Jets coach Rex Ryan made it that way, when he turned up on Bell’s mom’s doorstep in Winchester, Ky. for a recruiting visit.
“No coach has ever done that for me,” Bell said, via Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger. “Honestly, when he showed up at my house, I really had my decision made.”
Bell had visited the Jets offices, but when other teams stepped up their pursuit, that’s when Ryan decided to make a road trip.
“They made me feel like I was wanted here,” Bell said. “As a veteran player in this league, the older you get, it is not really about the money. We are all chasing that Super Bowl, and that chance. And I felt like my best chance was here.”
The Jets were eager to add Bell, after making the decision to revamp their safety lineup this offseason. That had defensive coordinator Mike Pettine nervous about the recruitment.
“We just were told, ‘Be patient, be patient,’ ” Pettine said. “But it was hard to be. Sitting in my office looking at that depth chart every day, it was hard to be patient.”
He’s been an important piece since arriving, lending some leadership as well as steady play. And with Eric Smith expected to miss the rest of the preseason with a knee injury and LaRon Landry on a pitch count after an Achilles problem, Bell’s taking the lead on the field.
And while he suggested he had the opportunity to earn more money elsewhere, the warm feelings he got when Ryan showed up on the doorstep sealed the deal.