Le'Veon Bell: Sam Darnold reminds me of myself

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell responds to questions during a news conference at the team's NFL football training facility Wednesday Aug. 21 2019 in Florham Park N.J

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell responds to questions during a news conference at the team's NFL football training facility Wednesday Aug. 21 2019 in Florham Park N.J

The New York Jets are making a wise choice by holding new star running back Le'Veon Bell out for the entirety of the preseason to reduce his chance of injury - but Bell hasn't played an National Football League game since Christmas Day in 2017, and the running back says he needs to get hit in order to prepare for the regular season.

Via Rich Cimini of ESPN, Bell wants to get acclimated to hits, being tackled, everything that would happen in the course of a game.

The Jets running back hasn't played a game in almost 600 days and was officially ruled out for preseason contests earlier this week by head coach Adam Gase. I don't think me getting four plays in the preseason is going to really help me for Week 1 in the game.

It's being done as a precaution, but because of his holdout for the 2018 season, it's been 19 months since the All-Pro back played in a game. "Everybody knows I'm being patient, and that's what I'm doing".

Playing with a new quarterback for the first time in his career, Bell said he and the young quarterback have already connected in how they approach practice. "You can tell the guy is a special player and to see him on Sunday, that's going to be fun". If they shy away, he said he'll try to get under their skin by initiating contact. If I feel like there's a need to play him next week, we will. "Because in practice, they kind of look at me like, 'We don't want to hit him.' Even if they don't [hit me hard], I try to give them something to get them a little upset. I think the defensive players do a good job of giving me good contact but not really trying to hurt me or take me to the ground too much". "I need all that". Gase said he felt it wasn't worth the risk to expose Bell in the preseason, so he opted to keep his No. 1 offensive weapon on the sideline.

"I know once I get onto the games it's going to be a little bit different, but that's something I'll adjust to, " Bell said.

"Yeah, he's out there in pregame with the pads on and dancing around and he's like, 'Let's go, guys! When the game comes, then I'll be ready". "To me, you can't tell that he hasn't played in a year".

Gase, who reportedly wasn't thrilled with the decision to give a $27 million guarantee to a running back, said he's eager to see Bell in a game setting.

"I can't wait to see what he does on a Sunday, " Gase said Wednesday. Just watching him each and every week, he will continue to grow.