4th-Round Rookie La'Mical Perine and Others Will Join In to Create 'Great Competition'
Cornerstones and Returnees
It's been feast or famine lately for Le'Veon Bell. He came to the Jets off of five very productive seasons with the Steelers (plus a year's holdout in 2018). Then in his first season in green and white he struggled and came in with several career lows. But he never lost his cool and remained highly supportive of his QB, his offense and his team all year, and now with Sam Darnold handing off to him again and with a refurbished O-line opening holes for him, Bell is ready for a rebirth.
Returning with Bell is Trenton Cannon, who had a few offensive flashes as a sixth-round rookie out of Virginia State in 2018, returned some kickoffs both seasons, but played in only four games with one offensive play and no touches before going on IR with foot and ankle injuries at midseason.
Also returning are veteran free agents in Josh Adams, who played for the Eagles in 2018 but saw limited action in three Jets games last year, and Kenneth Dixon, a Ravens draftee who averaged 4.8 yards/rush on 148 carries through '18 but signed with the Jets in December and saw no action.
Comings and Goings
The biggest name to arrive at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center was ageless veteran and consummate pro Frank Gore. He turned 37 years old shortly after he signed as a UFA in May, and he's entering his 16th NFL season with his fifth NFL team (and third AFC East team in three years). But at a time when most RBs have long passed their expiration dates, Gore keeps practicing and playing hard as he attempts to reach plateaus of 16,000 rushing yards (needs 653), 500 receptions (needs 32) and 100 scrimmage touchdowns (needs three).
The other newcomer is a rookie, fourth-round pick La'Mical Perine, who was a solid strength for Florida's offenses for four years. He started his last three years, led the Gators in rushing yards and scrimmage yards all three years, finished 8th in school history with 2,485 career rushing yards, and capped his college career with the Orange Bowl MVP award.
Departed are Bilal Powell, who put in nine quietly efficient Green & White seasons and is eighth with 3,675 career rushing yards and seventh with 5,275 scrimmage yards; Ty Montgomery, who had a low profile after signing as a free agent a year ago and is now a UFA signing by New Orleans; and Jalin Moore, who spent all last season and the start of this offseason on Reserve/Non-Football Injury.
RBs coach Jim Bob Cooter got to work with one of the NFL's top RBs last year in Le'Veon Bell and enjoyed the experience.
"Statistics and numbers, they play a big role in fans' perceptions of things, but it's a really complex game," Cooter said. "Sometimes the numbers may not look perfect but the guy may play pretty good football. Le'Veon played a bunch of snaps for us, and whether it's a pass play or a run play, I don't think the defense knows when Le'Veon's on the field. He's catching the ball, he's keeping our quarterback clean when he's protecting, and he's running the ball generally efficiently and effectively."
And just arriving this offseason is another pro football great in ageless RB Frank Gore.
"I've been a Frank Gore fan for a long time," Cooter said. "I've really respected him, I've watched him in this league run for a ton of yards. And to get an opportunity to work with him is something I'm really excited about. He's going to bring an unparalleled work ethic, he's going to bring all the right kind of stuff we want in our offense and in the running backs room. And he's going to play good football for us whenever he's asked to."