Why Le’Veon Bell feels no extra motivation against Steelers

For Le’Veon Bell, Sunday’s game against the Steelers will give him a chance to see some of his old friends and his old fans.

“It’s going to be packed with Steeler fans,” the Jets running back said about MetLife Stadium. “When we played the Raiders, it was a lot of Raiders fans and it was loud. I think it’s going to be similar to that, if not more. Steeler fans travel well.”

And what kind of reaction does he expect from them?

“I don’t know, honestly,” Bell said. “I think it will probably be 50/50. I think there will be half that will be happy to see me and still love me and half that hate me and despise me. It is what it is. I’m going to show love regardless. Everybody that’s wearing my jersey I’m going to go sign it and things like that. It’s going to be fun.”

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Bell spent the first five seasons of his career in Pittsburgh and became a star there. He sat out the 2018 season because of a contract dispute and then signed with the Jets as a free agent in March. Bell said he does not harbor any ill will toward the Steelers.

“Last year is last year,” Bell said. “Two years ago is two years ago. I’m over it. I’m past it. I’m here with the New York Jets and I’m happy.”

The 27-year-old said he gets excited to play every game and there is no added motivation for him in this game.

“Each and every game I play I try to give it my all. I guess if I can find an extra squeeze in there, I’m going to try,” Bell said. “It is what it is with me. I always try to go out there and give my best.”

Bell has had a disappointing first season with the Jets. He has rushed for just 676 yards on 204 carries with three rushing touchdowns. He also has 57 catches for 404 yards and another score. Bell said he is playing some of his best football, despite what the stats say.

“People look at the stats and they just go off of the stats,” Bell said. “It’s OK. It’s not their fault. I think people who understand football and break down the film and really watch it, they know exactly what’s going on and what type of player I am and how I’ve been performing. Stats don’t really show how well I’ve been playing. Regardless of stats, I don’t really care what people think. I’ve been playing very good football and I’m continuing to get better. I’m smarter, learning a lot more as I continue to play. I’m healthy and I feel good in Week 16. I’m happy where I am.”

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