It is normally the case when OTAs come around. There's a tad bit of intrigue because it brings about the start of a new football season. Add a little more if you have a top rookie or new free agent pickup you can't wait to see come September.
But Tuesday at the Jets' facility in Florham Park will be different when RB Le'Veon Bell steps foot on a practice field for the first time in over a year.
Not only has the Pro Bowler sat out an entire season, but he also hasn't been back to New Jersey since signing his new, lucrative deal with the Jets this free agency period. Instead, Bell has stuck to his plan of working out in North Miami with his long-time personal trainer, Pete Bommarito.
The president of Bommarito Performance Systems, Bommarito has been with Bell since 2013 when he left Michigan State for the NFL. Over the past five seasons, Bell has dominated in the run game, so why change the offseason formula now?
They have been working hard, as per usual, this offseason on making sure Bell is in tip-top NFL shape once mandatory practices begin. So, yes, you will be seeing a healthy, in-shape Bell tomorrow when he dons his new green and white helmet for the first time.
"Of course, he will be in great shape," Bommarito told ESPN's Rich Cimini.
Though players like Steve McLendon and his coaches have pitched him coming to OTAs, Bell has everything he needs down in Miami with Bommarito. From state-of-the-art training equipment to a personal chef and acupuncturist, Bell truly has all the amenities athletes dream of at his fingertips. He's also got the Jets' practice video and playbook on his team-issued iPad that he has been studying.
Because Bell hasn't been training in the supervision of the Jets, the fan base is left to wonder what he is actually doing? Or more importantly, is he really training hard enough for the upcoming season?
If you know Bell like Bommarito does, you'll know he comes into his facility every single day to work to the best of his abilities.
"It isn't about work ethic; anyone can work themselves into the ground," Bommarito said. "It's about the focus on the little things during the high-intensity training, understanding that everything counts. Le'Veon is so focused that a bomb could go off and he wouldn't even notice."
I remember days I was broke, so close to losing my hope… pic.twitter.com/zdEDY7YDry- Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) May 24, 2019
Head coach Adam Gase would obviously have loved to see Bell in the locker room before Tuesday, but he knows he'll be in the shape he wants him to be come training camp.
"I know he feels comfortable with [Bommarito], which I'm good with because I know once we hit training camp, he'll be ready to go."
And for his former Steelers offensive coordinator in Todd Haley, he knows exactly what to expect when Bell returns for good.
"He's a highly competitive guy and an extremely hard worker," Haley said about Bell. "Beside AB, nobody came in and looked in better condition, and he did most of it on his own because I don't know if he was ever there for much of the offseason except his rookie year. He'll have a chip on his shoulder, and he's very talented. It'll be interesting in New York. It'll be fun to watch."
Haley knows that Bell normally comes to camp around "218 or 219 pounds," and that is all thanks to the program Bommarito puts him through. He has trained other running backs like Frank Gore and Maurice Jones-Drew in the past, all players that have succeeded for long stretches in the NFL.
Working Bell with everything from resistance speed training to agility drills, Bommarito makes sure that each muscle group needed to make those devastating jump cuts and hit holes with speed and force are at peak performance when Bell checks into camp.
"It's not like we have to teach him how to cut -- he's already got that pattern down -- but it's a great training mechanism for the muscles across the ankle joint, the joint to the feet and the joint to the knee," Bommarito said about the most recent resistance training and jump-cut drills he put Bell through, which was shared on the running back's social media. "You have to get those stabilizing muscles strong if you're going to withstand and sustain a whole season."