Teammates for years in Pittsburgh, Jets running back Le’Veon Bell shared some insight into how he’d advise Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown.
New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown and New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell were teammates on the Pittsburgh Steelers for six years. Over that time together, the two stars helped lead their team to three division championships and four playoff appearances, even though both struggled at times to stay healthy when the Steelers needed them most in the postseason (often against the Patriots, actually).
Now, both Brown and Bell play for different teams: the former with New England, the latter with New York. The Patriots and the Jets are obviously bitter division rivals sharing the AFC East, so these two friends will now have the opportunity to play against one another twice this season – including for the first time this Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
And while their current squads don’t share many similarities at the moment – New England is 2-0 behind legendary quarterback Tom Brady, whereas New York is 0-2 and might be starting their third-string quarterback this weekend – Brown and Bell have experienced significant parallels in their career trajectories. Both wore out their welcomes in the Steel City and desired fresh starts elsewhere, and both got their wishes granted in fairly… unorthodox… fashion.
Bell’s path to the Jets was a little bit straighter than Brown’s journey to the Pats, however.
New York’s do-it-all running back sat out all of last season with the Steelers to keep himself healthy and fresh before signing with the Jets in March. New England signed Brown the day after their season opener, but only after the mercurial talent was traded to the Raiders and starred in a veritable soap opera of an offseason in Oakland, after which he eventually forced his own release from the team.
Bell sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Dianna Russini to discuss his own unconventional path to the Jets, and after Russini asked him to comment on Brown and all the drama that has surrounded the wideout of late, here’s what he said (via NESN’s Adam London):
"“Sometimes it’s kind of hard to overcome, like, when a lot of negative things are happening or people are saying a lot of negative things about you. It’s like a snowball effect, right? Even what happened to me, when I had my suspension and things like that, I don’t ever want to get too low on myself. I hope Antonio’s doing the same thing. If I had to give him advice, that’s what I would give him. If you know AB personally, you’ll know that he’s a good person. He’s not really trying to harm anybody, you know? Maybe something he wants and he gotta go achieve it, but he might go a different way about it than other people would. But, you know, it is what it is.”"
So far, it would appear that Brown is taking Bell’s advice. While the Patriots star hasn’t yet spoken to the media since signing with New England, he has posted occasional videos, images, and texts on his social media pages indicating that he’s relying on his faith, perseverance, and work ethic to help get through a time of trouble.