Le’Veon Bell is being placed on injured reserve, the Jets announced on Tuesday. Bell, who left the Jets season-opening loss to the Bills before its conclusion, is currently dealing with a hamstring injury. Also joining Bell on injured reserve is second-year linebacker Blake Cashman and rookie receiver Denzel Mims. All three players will be eligible to return in three weeks. In a corresponding move, the Jets signed Kalen Ballage, a three-year veteran who rushed for 326 yards and four touchdowns during his two seasons with the Dolphins. 

Bell, whose hamstring issues led to him being pulled from a training camp scrimmage on August 26, rushed for just 14 yards on six carries in Sunday’s loss to Buffalo. There has been no confirmation whether or not this prior hamstring issue led to a Week 1 aggravation or if it was a separate injury altogether. He also caught two passes for 32 yards before leaving the game. In Bell’s absence, veteran running back Frank Gore led New York with 24 yards on six carries. 

The loss of Bell comes two days after the Jets were overwhelmed by the Bills, who took a 21-0 lead en route to a 27-17 win. Buffalo, a trendy pick to make a return trip to the postseason, had more than twice as many first downs (31) as the Jets (15), who managed to produce just 254 total yards. Without a sustainable rushing attack, the Jets’ offense was on the field for less than 19 minutes. Josh Allen, the Bills’ third-year quarterback, vastly outplayed Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, who was sacked three times while completing just 60% of his pass attempts. 

Despite his previous success, Bell, who earned three Pro Bowl selections during his time with the Steelers, has had more than his share of injuries since breaking into the NFL in 2013. In 2014, Bell missed the postseason after sustaining a hyperextended knee in Pittsburgh’s regular season finale. He missed half of the following season after tearing his MCL. Despite the injury, Bell was better than ever in 2016, earning team MVP honors while rushing for regular season and postseason single-game franchise records. Bell’s season ended with an injury, however, as he missed the majority of Pittsburgh’s AFC Championship Game loss to New England with a groin injury. 

Bell was able to avoid sustaining a significant injury in 2019, his first season with the Jets after sitting out the entire 2018 season over a contract dispute. And after a disappointing first season in New York, Bell endured a rigorous offseason training regimen in hopes of reclaiming his former place as one of the NFL’s top running backs. 

“I love how nobody is really giving me a chance,” Bell said during training camp. “You have to use that for fuel. This is the best I’ve ever felt, so I’m eager to see what I’m able to do this year.” 

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