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Jets' preseason plan for RB Le'Veon Bell up in the air

Among the questions heading into Thursday's slate of preseason openers is how much certain veteran players will participate. The big query for the New York Jets in this instance is running back Le'Veon Bell.

Bell, who famously sat out the entire 2018 season, hasn't played a football game since Jan. 14, 2018 -- the Pittsburgh Steelers' playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars -- 571 days from Thursday, when the Jets take on the New York Giants, which airs live on NFL Network nationally.

Gang Green coach Adam Gase said Tuesday he's still not sure how much Bell will play this preseason.

"It's a fine line with Le'Veon. He hasn't played in a year," Gase said, via the New York Post. "At the same time, when's the right time? Is it this game? Is it the next one? Is it the next one [after that]? Do we just not play him this preseason? Do we go through the whole time and just give him [practice] reps? All those questions, those are what we keep talking about."

Gase noted that the situation is similar to the one he dealt with Frank Gore last year in Miami: While the player might lobby to play, the team must do what's in the best interest of the franchise. Gase held Gore out most of last year's preseason, allowing him one carry in the third preseason game.

Given that Bell sat out an entire season, Gase suggested the decision to play the running back won't be so cut and dry.

"It's tough," Gase said. "This is not as easy [as last year]. Whatever decision we make heading into this stuff, we'll all be good with."

If Bell hadn't missed an entire season, we wouldn't expect him to play Thursday, or much in any preseason game. Given that he hasn't played in almost 19 months adds a wrinkle, and with the team learning a new offense, a few live reps could be helpful. However, it would seem prudent to keep the star out at least the first week before letting him dip his toe in the preseason waters briefly later on.

Catch the New York Jets and New York Giants preseason tilt Thursday, live on NFL Network at 7 p.m. ET

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