Le’Veon Bell will catch passes from a different quarterback for the first time in his NFL career next month as he takes the field for the first time in nearly two years.
But the Jets running back credited Sam Darnold as one of the reasons he decided to make the move to New York in the first place, and Bell has grown even more comfortable with the second-year signal-caller in recent weeks.
“Sam has all the intangibles, he has the mindset,” Bell said, via the team’s official website. “You can see him — he’s a competitor. Every day in practice he literally wants to get better. It’s hard to … it’s hard to describe someone that’s like that because I’m like that.
“A lot of people go to practice and you’re just practicing. They call a play and you run the play. When they call a play for me, I’m trying to work myself and I’m trying to like really get better at it. And I can see that in Sam. When he makes a throw he doesn’t really like, I can see that in his face, ‘I could’ve thrown that better.’ You’ve got to love that about him because he literally wants to be perfect.
“He reminds me a lot of myself in that aspect.”
Darnold completed 57.7 percent of his passes as he threw for 2,865 yards and 17 touchdowns to go with 15 interceptions through 13 games as a rookie last season.
As for Bell, it’s been almost 600 days since he’s seen NFL action, but he’s eager to make up for lost time.
“I know everybody’s eager to watch me play, and I’m eager to play,” Bell said. “Everybody knows I’m being patient, and that’s what I’m doing. I’ll wait till Week 1 comes, and when it counts, I’ll be out there giving it everything I’ve got.”
Bell sat out all of 2018 after holding out from the Steelers over a contract dispute but remained an offensive force having tallied 5,336 rushing yards, 2,660 receiving yards and 42 touchdowns through his first five NFL seasons.
He’s been ruled out for the preseason so he can be ready for the Sept. 8 opener when the Jets host the Bills.