The New York Jets announced they released Le'Veon Bell Thursday evening, just hours after trade rumors regarding the running back swirled.
"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," Jets General Manager Joe Douglas said in a statement that was tweeted by the team. "The Jets organization appreciates Le'Veon's efforts during his time here and we know he worked hard to make significant contricutions to this team. We believe this decision is in the best interests of both parties and wish him future success."
Right as the team announced the move, Bell tweeted the praying hands emoji, followed by "got a lot to prove. I'm ready to go" about 20 minutes later.
Bell signed with the Jets ahead of the 2019 season, after missing the entire previous season due to a contract dispute with his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a total of 17 games with Gang Green, Bell racked up 863 yards and three touchdowns — a far cry from his five years with the Steelers, where he had three seasons where he topped 1,200 rushing yards between 2014-2017.
The Jets placed Bell on injured reserve in mid-September, and activated him on Friday. He played in two games this season, getting 19 carries for 74 yards, after signing him to a four-year, $52.5 million deal last offseason.
With Bell now gone, the team will likely use more of veteran Frank Gore and rookie La'Mical Perine in the backfield.
Chances are, it will not be the only major change coming for the Jets in the near future, as the team has limped to a dreadful 0-5 start to the season. Head coach Adam Gase is on the hot seat, along with with other coaching and roster changes that are likely on the horizon.