Jets running back Le'Veon Bell will not play in the preseason, after not playing at all last year. So when he takes the field in Week One, it will be the first full-contact action he’s had since the end of the 2017 season. But Bell says his teammates are hitting him just enough to get him accustomed to contact before the season.
In practice the Jets’ defenders don’t tackle their high-priced running back teammate like they would hit an opponent in a game, but Bell said he’ll run into them to initiate contact if necessary.
“I try to do that intentionally, just so I can feel it,” he said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN. “A lot of times you’ll start seeing guys get a little frustrated and they’ll try to hit me back — and that’s what I need. They won’t take me to the ground and they won’t go for my legs. Hitting me up top, things like that, I need all that.”
Bell said teammates are trying to strip the ball from him to remind him to hold it tight, and that’s close enough to get him ready.
“I know once I get to the game it’s going to be a little different, but that’s something I’ll adjust to,” he said. “I’ve been playing football my whole life.”
Bell hasn’t been playing football in the last year and a half, but he thinks he’ll be ready when he finally gets back on the field in Week One.