Bell was spotted at a New Jersey bowling alley Saturday night, hours after the Jets had ruled him out of the Week 14 meeting with Miami due to a flu he’d been battling all week.
Coach Adam Gase told reporters Tuesday that Bell will not be disciplined for his bowling alley appearance, but said it was not a good optic and preferred Bell hadn’t ventured outside of his home.
Bell, meanwhile, responded to questions about his night at the lanes by highlighting his score as the most important news.
“The bigger surprise is I bowled a 251 off the flu,” Bell told reporters, per the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta. “Career high.”
Gase made the valid point that it wasn’t Bell’s fault he wasn’t with the team, as he’d been told to stay away from them for fear of spreading the virus. NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones reported Tuesday fellow Jets running back Bilal Powell has since come down with the flu, adding credibility to Gase’s decision to keep Bell away.
Bell is in the midst of his worst professional season as part of a struggling Jets team that never really got out of the starting blocks in 2019. The handsomely compensated running back is averaging a career-low 3.2 yards per carry through 12 games and has just four total touchdowns while running behind a remade offensive line that has fallen well short of expectations.
He’s battled through knee and ankle injuries, but the flu kept him from playing in his 13th straight game after sitting out all of 2018 in a contract dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a season that most Jets fans likely want to forget, we’ll see if Bell can remedy his public gaffe in his final three weeks of 2019.