For most players around the NFL, minicamps and OTAs are just another part of the offseason. But for Jets new RB Le'Veon Bell, it was something much more.
He hasn't seen a practice field in 17 months heading into the start of minicamp on Tuesday, which is why he was in good spirits and all smiles when addressing the eager media afterward. His teammates may be used to these types of practices now, but it was a breath of fresh air for Bell.
He appreciated the little things.
"I came into the building yesterday, we had the media day and all that," Bell said. "I was able to go around the facility. It was amazing just running around, be able to trash talk, catch some balls, sweat in your helmet."
After taking a step back to soak it all in again, Bell came back to Earth to field questions about what he can bring to the Jets. It's obvious new head coach Adam Gase will be making it a priority to unlock everything Bell can do for his offense and more.
Even with an entire year off, Bell returns to the NFL as one of the most threatening running backs in the game. His abilities on the ground and in the air are as dynamic as they come, and Bell even believes they could flourish more with the Jets than they did with the Steelers.
"I picture this scheme being amazing for me. It's a lot of opportunities I never had before," Bell said, adding that the offensive weapons around him will help open things up as well.
In particular, Bell had very high praise for his new quarterback in Sam Darnold. Bell had to work with Ben Roethlisberger over his career thus far, and though he worked well with him in Pittsburgh, he thinks Darnold offers a specific skill that the Super Bowl-winning veteran doesn't excel at.
It's why he was confident in saying Darnold will elevate his game.
"I think Sam is going to make me a better player," Bell said. "He's so mobile and create opportunities that I never had...We're going to be a special duo in the backfield."
To make sure that connection is flawless, Bell has a lot of work to do -- first by learning his new offense. He had in iPad with the team's playbook while he was working down in Miami, but he admitted he is a little behind compared to those that have been in Florham Park.
However, "football is football," as he put it. He knows once he learns the schemes, and more importantly, works them out in practice, he'll be good to go.
"I literally was trying to listen to every word of the play," he said about getting in huddles today. "A lot of times you hear a play, but people will tell you what you got. I want to know what everybody got. It will only have me help the offense better.
"Football is football, so terminology here is different than where I was before. That's why I wasn't worried about coming to learn the offense. I'm a smart player and I'm going to show people that."
It'll certainly take time to learn the ins and outs of Gase's plays, and mesh with his new teammates. The foundation may be set over these next few days at minicamp, but Bell made it known that he will return to Miami to continue prepping with training camp in sight.
That is what the 27-year-old has done in the past, and it's worked. Yes, this is a new team, new plays, and a new atmosphere to get accustomed to. But Bell is confident in what he needs to do to make this Jets team better in 2019.
So as he continues to work on his relationships with his coaches and teammates, learn his new offense, and bask in the glory of wearing a sweaty helmet again, Bell knows come training camp he'll be prepared to take on the NFL once again.
"When training camp comes, I'll definitely be ready," he said. "Trust me."