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Jets set to activate RB Bell from IR, source says

  • Longtime Jets beat writer for New York Daily News
  • Syracuse University graduate

The New York Jets won’t have quarterback Sam Darnold, already ruled out for Sunday, but they will have running back Le’Veon Bell in the lineup.

Bell, who pulled his left hamstring in Week 1, will be activated Saturday from injured reserve, a source told ESPN on Saturday. He returned to practice this week.

The winless Jets (0-4) hope Bell can spark a struggling offense, which ranks 31st in scoring and 31st in total yards.

It will be interesting to see how coach Adam Gase divides the work against the Arizona Cardinals (2-2). In Bell’s absence, he leaned heavily on Frank Gore, who got 49 of the 64 running back carries. The 37-year-old Gore was ineffective, rushing for only 150 yards — a 3.1 average.

“I think he can be pretty effective,” Gase said of Bell. “He did a good job of getting healthy and then staying in good shape. [He] did a good job making sure that he maintained where his weight was. … I think he feels even better now than he did when we kind of hit that first game.”

Bell didn’t show much in brief action. After predicting a career year in training camp, he carried six times for 14 yards in the season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills. He injured his hamstring late in the first half but tried to play in the third quarter, perhaps making it worse.

Afterward, Gase said he was “mad” at himself for sending Bell back in the game.

The running game has been a major disappointment. The Jets are averaging 4.1 yards per carry, but that number is deceiving because 46 yards came on a touchdown scramble by Darnold — by far their longest run of the season.

The Jets’ backfield will have an old AFC North feel to it, featuring Bell and quarterback Joe Flacco, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, respectively.

Flacco, 35, replacing the injured Darnold (sprained right shoulder), will make his Jets starting debut. He played four snaps last week after Darnold left briefly to get his shoulder examined in the locker room. It will be Flacco’s first start since last Oct. 27, when he played for the Denver Broncos.

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