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Le’Veon Bell released by New York Jets

The New York Jets’ rocky relationship with Le’Veon Bell came to a sudden end on Tuesday when the Jets informed they had released the running back.

It ended a 19-month tenure that was filled with disappointment and broken promises. Bell, who arrived as a marquee free agent in 2019, never clicked with coach Adam Gase, who opposed the signing from the outset.

“After having conversations with Le’Veon and his agent and exploring potential trade options over the past couple of days, we have made the decision to release Le’Veon,” the team said in a statement.

“The Jets organization appreciates Le’Veon’s efforts during his time here and we know he worked hard to make significant contributions to this team. We believe this decision is in the best interests of both parties and wish him future success.”

As a vested veteran, Bell is not subject to waivers. He will be a free agent at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.

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Frustrated by his lack of participation in the offense, Bell met with Gase and general manager Joe Douglas on Monday, a source said. They told Bell they would explore a trade, and they gave his agent authorization to speak with other teams.

The Jets contacted every team but found the contract was difficult to move.

They were willing to eat some of the $6 million remaining on his 2020 base salary, but the sticking point was an $8 million injury guarantee in 2021, a source said. No team wanted to take on that much risk, fearing a serious injury this campaign.

In the end, neither did the Jets. They could’ve continued to shop him until the Nov. 3 trading deadline, hoping to recoup a late-round pick, but they too were wary of the injury guarantee, knowing they were planning to cut him in the offseason.

The Jets are responsible for the remaining $6 million on Bell’s 2020 base pay, but there’s an offset clause that will defray it by the amount of the salary on a new contract with his next team.

Bell returned to the lineup on Sunday and carried the ball 13 times for 60 yards. He was targeted only once in the passing game.

On several occasions, Gase talked about getting Bell more involved as a receiver. On Sunday, rookie running back La’Mical Perine saw no action.

Bell’s departure should create playing time for Perine, who will share the workload with the 37-year-old Gore.

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Jets coach Adam Gase expects Le’Veon Bell to miss a couple of weeks

The Jets’ offense actually can get worse. They may be without versatile back Le’Veon Bell for at least two games.

Bell injured his hamstring late in the first half of Sunday’s season-opening 27-17 loss to the Bills. He tried to play through it, but Adam Gase pulled Bell out of the match early in the third quarter.

Gase stated on a Monday conference call that it could be “a couple weeks,” but the coach doesn’t want to put any timetable on how long Bell would be out.

“I just know what kind of shape he’s in and his work ethic and the way that he finds ways to play through injury and how he bounces back,” Gase said.

“I just wouldn’t be surprised if he came back quicker than anticipated. “I don’t want to put any kind of restrictions on him, being a guy that’s been around the league for quite a few years. Some of these guys find ways to be able to play through pain and play through injuries like this. I don’t want to say a longer time and then he’s going to be like, ‘What are you putting me in a box for?’”

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Hamstrings are always tricky injuries.

Rookie wide receiver Denzel Mims missed all of training camp with a hamstring issue and then was inactive Sunday after aggravating his other hamstring. Linebacker Avery Williamson didn’t practice or play last week due to a hamstring. Gase didn’t seem optimistic that Williamson would play this week.

Unless Bell heals rapidly and miraculously, the Jets will be heading into this Sunday’s home opener versus the NFC-champion 49ers with 37-year-old Frank Gore and Josh Adams as their running backs.

Gore was the Jets’ leading rusher Sunday, with 24 yards on six carries. The Jets gained only 52 yards rushing in a game they trailed 21-0 in the second quarter. Gore surely would welcome a bigger workload, especially against one of his former teams. He has shown he can be productive. But he’s not the weapon Bell is for the offense.

Bell played the first series of the third quarter, but then Gase removed him from the game. He said he was mad at himself for keeping Bell in there and risking further injury

“We talked after the game,” Gase said. “He knew how I felt.”

Now the Jets have to get ready to bounce back without one of their best weapons and versus one of the best defenses last year. “We cannot play like we did this last game,” Gase said. “We have to correct a lot of things very quickly. We have to get a lot better really fast.”

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