FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Le’Veon Bell will be spared from team discipline after his weekend bowling outing.
The New York Jets running back missed the team’s 22-21 win Sunday against Miami while continuing to recover from the flu, which kept him out of practice for two days last week. Coach Adam Gase said Tuesday that team doctors determined Bell was still ill Saturday, so the team ruled him out for the game.
“He wanted to play,” Gase said. “But they told him he was still contagious. They didn’t want him around all the other guys because they thought it could spread through the team.”
Bell was sent home and told to stay away from the team while he recovers — but didn’t violate any team rules.
“What am I going to discipline him for?” Gase said. “I can’t tell him you have to stay in your house.”
The New York Post reported Monday night that Bell went to a New Jersey-area bowling alley Saturday night and stayed there with several friends until it closed around 1 a.m.
“I mean, that’s not his fault that we said he was still contagious,” Gase said. “That’s what the doctors told him. I’d rather he not be (out). I’d rather he be home just getting better.”
Gase expected to speak to Bell later Tuesday, but acknowledged the running back being out in public and bowling just hours after being ruled out for the game the next morning because of an illness was bad optics.
“Yeah,” Gase said with a slight laugh, “I would say so.”
Bell was medically cleared and rejoined his Jets teammates Monday night for the team’s weightlifting and walk-through sessions. Gase anticipated Bell being available to practice and play Thursday night at Baltimore.
“Yeah, he better,” Gase said. “We’re out of guys.”
That’s because running back Bilal Powell is also dealing with the flu and left the game against Miami during the winning drive with an ankle injury that was expected to keep him off the field Tuesday.
“It’s serious enough where if he didn’t have the flu, he probably wouldn’t play,” Gase said.
Powell ran for 74 yards, a team high this season, on 19 carries in Bell’s absence. Ty Montgomery had 31 yards on nine attempts. Josh Adams is the only other running back on the roster.
Bell’s first season with the Jets has been underwhelming statistically. He has rushed for just 589 yards and 3.2 yards per carry, which is a career low. He has 55 catches for 403 yards coming out of the backfield, but has not added the dynamic presence that was expected when he signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with New York in March that included $35 million guaranteed.
NOTES: S Jamal Adams will be a game-time decision to play, Gase said. Adams missed the first game of his NFL career Sunday with a sprained ankle. … Gase said Adams, Powell, TE Ryan Griffin (ankle), CB Brian Poole (concussion), WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring), CB Arthur Maulet (calf), OL Chuma Edoga (knee) and DL Quinnen Williams (neck) would all sit out if the team had a full practice Tuesday. With the short week, the Jets are having a walk-through.
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