New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell said Thursday he wanted to warn fantasy football owners he planned to sit out the entire 2018 NFL regular season after he decided not to sign the one-year contract associated with the Pittsburgh Steelers' franchise tag.
Bell explained that his inability to alert fantasy owners about his absence before their drafts is the reason he posted an apology Monday on Twitter.
"I wish I could've told fantasy owners some type of way, like, 'I'm not playing this year,' so they wouldn't have picked me," he told reporters. "That's the only thing I really apologized for, because a lot of people picked me not even knowing if I was coming back."
Le'Veon Bell @LeVeonBell
this is loooong overdue!! but I want to take a moment to apologize to all the fantasy owners who picked me last year, I’m sorry I couldn’t pull through for y’all...but trust me, this year’s about to be wayyyy different, I’m bringing the 🏆🏆 this year 😈😈 https://t.co/IvANCzwJ6F
The 27-year-old Michigan State product, who signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the Jets, didn't hesitate when asked where he should land in this year's fantasy drafts.
"First," he said.
Bell at least belongs in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick since he'll take on a workhorse role for what should be a much-improved Jets offense led by quarterback Sam Darnold.
The dual-threat running back led the NFL in touches with 406 as a member of the Steelers in 2017. He also averaged 129 yards from scrimmage across 62 regular-season appearances for Pittsburgh.
Those are elite numbers, and a year away from the league may have provided more of a healing benefit than any type of negative impact.
Bell does have ample competition for the top fantasy spot from other running backs. It's a group led by the New York Giants' Saquon Barkley, Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott, New Orleans Saints' Alvin Kamara and Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey, though Elliott's holdout is a real concern.
But Bell sounds like a man on a mission, so it wouldn't come as a surprise if he does end up being the fantasy MVP at season's end.