New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell will not play in the preseason, head coach Adam Gase told reporters Sunday, meaning his first action since the end of the 2017 season will come in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills.
Gase told reporters the decision was reinforced by starting linebacker Avery Williamson tearing his ACL in Thursday's preseason game.
"I was 99.9 percent sure what we were going to do," Gase said of the plan for Bell. "The (Williamson injury) probably made it 100."
Williamson, the team's leading tackler in 2018, went down while playing with backups against the Atlanta Falcons in the second quarter Thursday night. Gase said Saturday he regrets having Williamson play so late.
"Looking back on it -- hindsight is 20/20 -- I wish I would've gotten him out of there a series earlier," Gase said. "I talked to him. It's on me. I'm the one who has to make that call and get him out of there. We didn't. It's a shame because he was having a good camp."
Bell, who sat out all of 2018 in a contract dispute with Pittsburgh, hasn't had a preseason carry since the 2016 season. He told reporters this week he would be fine without playing until the regular-season opener.
"I don't really necessarily need (preseason reps)," Bell said. "If I get them, they'll help. But I don't think I'll need them. I think once we get out there ... football is football. I've been playing for so long. It naturally will come back to me. I'll get adjusted to the game ... in a couple plays and I'm ready to go."
Bell, 27, signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the Jets in March.
He rushed for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns and caught 312 passes for 2,660 yards and seven scores in five seasons (62 games) with the Steelers from 2013-17.
--Field Level Media