Le'Veon Bell said one of the reasons he joined the Jets was because he idolized Hall of Famer Curtis Martin growing up.
And Martin believes Bell has what it takes to follow him to Canton.
"For a guy like Le'Veon, it's not about, 'Can he make it to the Hall of Fame?' ... He's like an Adrian Peterson-like guy. Those guys, they don't have to play 12, 13, 14 years to make it to the Hall of Fame if they just work hard and take care of business now," Martin said, according to the New York Post's Steve Serby.
Bell, who signed a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the Jets, can be the greatest running back in franchise history since Martin, who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
Yet Martin, who totaled 14,101 rushing yards, 3,329 receiving yards and 100 total touchdowns in his 11-year career, knows Bell is a completely different type of player than he was.
"There's not anything that the guy can't do," Martin said. "He's one of the best running back receivers in the league, he's one of the best runners in the league. So you got the cream of the crop."
The 27-year-old Bell, who infamously sat out the 2018 season even though the Pittsburgh Steelers placed the franchise tag on him, has recorded at least 1,800 total yards in three of the last four seasons he played. In 2017, he totaled 1,291 rushing yards on 321 carries, 655 receiving yards on 85 receptions and 11 total touchdowns.
Even though he forfeited $14.5 million, Bell said he didn't regret the decision to sit out the 2018 season.
"Who can say what would happen?" Bell said on a conference call Thursday night. "If I go out and play on a one-year franchise tag, if I get hurt, would I be in this position today?"
While Bell grew up in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, which is around 2 1/2 hours away from Heinz Field, his family was filled with Steelers fans, but he remembers idolizing Martin and the Jets.
"I was really the only one who grew up a Curtis Martin fan loving the New York Jets," Bell told the Post, "and I was always the one that was by myself."
Since Martin, the Jets have gone through several running backs: Thomas Jones, LaDainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene, Chris Ivory, Matt Forte, Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell among them.
None of them had Bell's patient running style or were the type of dynamic player Bell has shown he can be in the passing game.
"I think [Bell and Giants running back Saquon Barkley] both have all the ability in the world, but I think Le'Veon has a patient, wait-for-the-right-moment, pick-your-hole style," Martin told the Post. "I haven't seen a back, I don't think in my life, that's as patient as Le'Veon is."
Bell said he is excited to work alongside Sam Darnold, saying he thinks "his potential is through the roof." And Martin believes Bell can average 75 and 95 receptions per year.
"I think he becomes a huge safety net," Martin said. "He's the one man that other teams are gonna have the most difficult time accounting for because it's like how do you cover him? He produces like a receiver. A 2- or 3-yard run turns into 15-20 yards."
From running back to running back, Martin has advice for Bell:
"Be the hardest worker, and stay humble," Martin said. "In New York, I think some bravado is good, you have to have a certain swagger about you. But, New York is a humbling place to play in. ... One thing I found about the New York fans, that if you are known as a hard worker, and they know that no matter what, you went out there and you gave your best every single day, I think that makes a difference..."