Le'Veon Bell did not suit up for either of the Jets' first two preseason games, and as head coach Adam Gase told reporters following Sunday's Green and White scrimmage, he won't see the field until their Week 1 matchup with the Bills on Sept. 8.
"Le'Veon will not play this week," Gase said. "He won't play in the fourth game. We will be holding him until the season."
Gase had previously hinted at the possibility of keeping Bell on the sidelines until the regular season opener following Saturday's practice.
After missing all of the 2018 season due to a contract dispute with the Steelers, it's been over a year and a half since Bell has played in an NFL game of any sort, be it preseason, regular season, or postseason. Nevertheless, Gase is optimistic that rust will not be an issue when his team's prized offseason acquisition sees game action.
Adam Gase says that Le'Veon Bell will NOT play in the preseason: pic.twitter.com/ODLHnfjtKn- Jets Videos (@snyjets) August 19, 2019
"He's not really going to know until he gets into a game," Gase said. "But I feel like he's in great shape. He's been contacting about as good as anyone on the practice field so I feel confident that he'll be ready to go Week 1."
Saquon Barkley has also not appeared in any preseason games, and though Gase was much more direct than Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, both coaches seem keenly aware that maintaining the health of their star running backs is paramount heading into the regular season.
"I was about 99 percent sure headed into the preseason," Gase said. "It was all based off of how he practiced, conditioning, all those types of things before we started. I told him we wanted to increase his reps [in practice] this week to get him as game-ready as possible."