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Jets' Le'Veon Bell Expects '50-50' Fan Reaction in 1st Game Against Steelers

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIDecember 20, 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 24:   (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)   Le'Veon Bell #26 of the New York Jets in action against the Oakland Raiders at MetLife Stadium on November 24, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets defeated the Raiders 34-3. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Jets will welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon, but running back Le'Veon Bell isn't expecting a totally warm welcome from the members of his former fanbase in attendance during what will be his first time playing the Steelers since departing in March:

Rich Cimini @RichCimini

If MetLife Stadium is filled with Steeler fans on Sunday, as everybody expects, how does Le’Veon Bell expect to be received?by his former fans? “Fifty-fifty,” he said. “Half will be happy to see me and still love me, and half will hate me, despise me.” #Jets #Steelers https://t.co/nYfYTtAdER

The 27-year-old All-Pro added, per ESPN's Rich Cimini: "It's going to be packed with Steeler fans. When we played the Raiders, there were a lot of Raider fans and it was loud. I think it'll be the same as that, if not more. Steeler fans travel well. I definitely know that."  

Bell signed with the Jets on a four-year, $52.5 million deal as a free agent in March. That came after he held out all of last season due to a contract dispute with the Steelers. When on the field in Pittsburgh, Bell posted three seasons with at least 1,200 rushing yards after the franchise selected him in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft. 

This season has not been as prolific for Bell, who has 676 yards and three touchdowns on 204 rushing attempts, as well as 57 catches for 404 yards and one touchdown across 13 games.

The 5-9 Jets have been eliminated from playoff contention, but the 8-6 Steelers enter Week 16 holding onto the AFC's second wild-card spot.

The Jets and Steelers will kick off at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.