The Jets decided to cut ties with their talented yet disgruntled running back Le’Veon Bell last Thursday. Bell was vocal about how he was being utilized by Jets head coach Adam Gase. With the season beyond repair the Jets’ corporate triumvirate of Gase, general manager Joe Douglas and owner Christopher Johnson agreed to release Bell from his contract.
Bell’s story is a case study of how corporate shakeups can adversely impact an athlete’s career. Bell was unhappy with the contract his old team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, had offered him for 2018 so he decided to sit out that season in the hopes of landing a big free agent deal from a different team the following year.
Mike Maccagnan, the Jets general manager at the time, was understandably excited to have someone many considered to be the best running back in the game on his roster. He saw Bell as the man who would help get the Jets back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010 when he signed him in March 2019.
Unfortunately for Maccagnan, and for most Jets fans at this point, he had hired deposed Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, to replace Todd Bowles two months earlier.
At the time I praised the move considering Gase had beaten the Jets whenever the Dolphins played them and he had a reputation as an offensive guru while the Jets offense stunk for years.
We’ll never know whether Maccagnan and Gase discussed signing Bell but I would have to assume they did and there were no reservations from the Jets head coach. It’s highly unlikely any sports team general manager would spend roughly $52 million for an athlete if his head coach expressed serious reservations.
Gase, for whatever reason, was not happy about having Bell on his roster. Two months after Maccagnan signed Bell to that lucrative contract, Johnson fired him. Rumors swirled at the time Gase was involved in deposing the man who hired him.
With Bell having lost his chief supporter in the Jets organization it was inevitable things would spiral downwards quickly. He understandably showed a little rust last year but what really prevented him from piling up his old stats was the Jets putrid offensive line, which couldn’t create any running lanes for him.
In spite of their pathetic lack of weapons, Gase only half-heartedly made Bell a part of the Jets offense this year.
As soon as he was contractually free to do so Bell signed to play with the Kansas City Chiefs who the Jets will play in two weeks.
Don’t be surprised if oddsmakers have Gang Green as a 25-point underdog for that game.
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Ed Coleman, whom Mets fans know well as the radio host of their team’s pre- and postgame shows, suggested on Twitter that given New York’s dire finances this should be the ideal time to legalize sports gambling in the Empire State. Coleman pointed out New Jersey’s coffers have been enriched by $223 million since sports betting was legalized in the Garden State.
Life and style
The streaming service Apple TV + has created a series, “Ted Lasso,” based on the character comic actor Jason Sudekis created for NBC Sports to promote its coverage of soccer’s English Premier League.
Sudekis plays a nice-guy American small college football coach who is hired to coach a team in the EPL even though he knows nothing about soccer. The team owner is a divorced woman who wants revenge on her ex-husband, who lives and dies with his beloved team. Some of the premise is borrowed from the marvelous 1977 Paul Newman film about minor league hockey, “Slapshot,” and the dialog is quite witty with Sudekis perfect as the American rube who is over his head in the UK.
I have to give the CW Network credit for coming up with new programming in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two weeks ago it debuted yet another DC Comics offering, “Swamp Thing,” and a soap opera about international high finance, “Devils.” Its long-running series, “Supernatural,” wraps up next month.