The man who was in charge of making sure Le’Veon Bell didn’t finish his holdout from the Steelers out of shape has some things to say about a report that the running back ballooned to 260 pounds at some point last year.
Deep in an answer to a question asking about the New York Jets’ interest in Bell and former Steelers teammate Antonio Brown, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News threw out a rumor that he had heard rumors about Bell gaining dozens of pounds above his playing weight:
Then there’s this: Word on the street is that Bell, who’s playing weight is about 225 pounds, ballooned to around 260 pounds at one point during his year-long hiatus. There’s a fair amount of concern from the Jets about what kind of shape he’s in at the moment. (You’d have to think that Bell has lost most of his extra baggage by now).
While that was a flimsy report in a larger analysis of the Jets’ interest in Bell, the 27-year-old hitting a Jerome Bettis-level weight would have been of high interest to any team considering Bell in free agency. Bell’s trainer, Pete Bommarito of Miami’s Bommarito Performance Systems, responded by issuing a strong denial to Fansided.
It’s so untrue it’s laughable and ridiculous,” Bommarito stated. “He has stuck to the plan and stayed in shape all year. It’s ridiculous. Where does this stuff come from? Who says this? Nobody asked me.
While it’s hard to imagine we’re going to see some kind of proof that Bell stayed fully in shape throughout a season in which he watched Steelers games from home, it’s also hard to visualize Bell, a player who opened himself to so much risk this offseason if he entered it overweight, allowing himself to slip as far as defensive lineman territory. It’s not like Bell didn’t spend some of his hiatus having fun, but there’s a big difference between the semi-occasional excursion and immolating your career as thousands of Steelers fans eagerly await any misfortune to befall you.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert confirmed to reporters Wednesday that the team would allow Bell to become an unrestricted free agent, a development that Bell celebrated in an … interesting way. Whatever weight he is now, Bell will soon begin talking to teams as he enters the next phase of his career.
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