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Three thoughts on Le’Veon Bell’s absence from the offseason program

Divisional Round - Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

One of the biggest stories about the Jets this week was the absence of their new start running back from part of the offseason program. There has been plenty of media chatter about Le’Veon Bell skipping part of the voluntary workouts. What should we make of the situation.

The optics of this are not great.

When you pay a player the kind of money the Jets are paying Bell, you are making that player part of your team’s core. It certainly would be nice for appearances to see his first acts on the team to go above and beyond the bare minimum by showing up when he doesn’t have to do so. That probably counts for extra for a guy like Bell who left his last team under ugly circumstances.

The Jets aren’t thrilled with Bell’s absence.

We know this from Mike Maccagnan’s unofficial spokesman beat writer Manish Mehta.

No matter what anyone on One Jets Drive says publicly, know this: The Jets aren’t particularly pleased with their new running back’s decision to stay away from the team given their significant investment and desire to make him an integral part of Adam Gase’s offense.

This whole situation is being blown ridiculously out of proportion.

Yes, the optics are bad. Yes, the Jets are annoyed.

I really don’t see this having an impact on the team at all, though. It just feels to me like we are in a dead time for football news. This is the time of year when mountains get made out of molehills simply because there is nothing else to discuss.

Bell has every right to skip these workouts. He was granted this right because of the rules of the league the players and owners negotiated.

He is an established player. He knows how to get himself ready for the season. If he doesn’t know how to do that, a handful of workouts in Florham Park won’t save him.

I understand the Jets being annoyed. But if they were that concerned about his presence at the offseason program, they easily could have provided him a financial incentive to show by writing workout bonuses into his contract. By now it isn’t exactly a secret this is a player more motivated by money than showing symbolic commitment.

It sounds like Bell has been around these workouts more than the media realizes anyway.