Gang Green coach Adam Gase said Wednesday at the dawn of training camp that Le'Veon Bell will be on a pitch count during camp and in the preseason.
"We'll be smart," he said. "He's not going to walk out of this camp with the most reps he's ever had. We'll find that line, find what the balance is. It's going to be a communication a lot of the time. We have an idea going in, then if we have to adjust that plan, we will."
Bell famously skipped all last season after the Pittsburgh Steelers used the franchise tag on the running back. Gase reiterated that he's not concerned in the least about the shape in which Bell enters camp.
"He'll be fine, he'll jump right in there," he said. "He's in good condition, so he'll be all right. He's a football player, he's done this for a long time. He's been training all spring and all summer in a very hot climate."
The coach compared Bell missing a season to a player who came off an injury, noting every player is different, but he doesn't expect any limitations physically from the runner. The plan to curtail his work in training camp is more about managing a player who will have a big enough load once the season starts.
"Everybody is different. I've seen guys coming off ACL's, some are a little bit slow as far as their movements go," he said. "Some guys jump in and it's like they never left. It's just that everyone is different, I think some of it is the mental mindset and how they approach it, if they're worried about anything. 'Can I do this anymore? Am I going to be able to do this?' I don't think (Bell's) concerned about that. He's in great shape, he's been studying the offense this summer and I think he's ready to go. It's been a long time and I think he's excited."
Gase wouldn't hint on whether Bell would participate during preseason games.
"I got that scripted out. Right now, I'm not going to quite reveal that," the coach said. "I haven't even talked to him about it yet, but I have an idea of how we're going to do that."
It would be surprising if Bell got much run during the preseason games. More likely they'll let the dual-threat back dip his toe in the water, then dive in during the regular season.