Steve McLendon gave it a shot, but there was no changing Le'Veon Bell's mind.
The defensive tackle revealed Wednesday that he spoke to Bell, whom McLendon was teammates with in Pittsburgh for three seasons, to attend voluntary workouts.
"I talked to him and I told him, 'You understand this place is different than Pittsburgh,'" McLendon said. "I said, 'You need to get back so you can understand the quarterback and the situation.'
"'The media is gonna get you if you don't come back,'" he said he told Bell. "That's the truth. I did tell him that."
There has indeed been some criticism aimed at Bell for not showing up to get to know his new playbook, coach and quarterback after signing a four-year, $52.5 million contract with $27 million guaranteed. Bell has opted to train in Florida during the voluntary period as he normally has, and he and Adam Gase have been speaking with one another and appear to be on the same page.
Still, Bell is missing out on valuable time he could be spending with his new teammates and coaches.
"You just want to get to know your teammates, especially when we have a young quarterback," McLendon said. "He needs to know your rhythm, he needs to know how patient you are. It's easy to see on the film but it's so hard to prepare with because (Bell) is very dynamic in the things that he can do. Out of the backfield, in the backfield, lining up at wide receiver, he can do a lot of special things, and for me it's very amazing to have him on our team."
McLendon is aware Bell has critics. And even though he hoped Bell would show up to avoid such criticism, he defended his teammate's choice.
"Listen, man, he's not an All-Pro, Pro Bowl running back for no reason. Sometimes people prepare differently," McLendon said. "Would we love him here? Yes. But when he comes here and he's rocking and rolling and helping us get to where we want to go this season, ain't nobody going to be thinking about it. And I know I'm not."
McLendon has always known Bell to be in great physical condition.
"He's going to be in extremely good shape," McLendon said. "He's going to be in some good shape. He always has been and I don't see that changing."