Not terribly long ago, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown both were public enemies in Pittsburgh. They now find themselves in better situations, and they just so happen to be division rivals.

Following a season-long holdout, Bell cashed in on the open market via a lucrative, long-term deal with the New York Jets. Bell originally wasn’t supposed to see Brown twice over the course of the 2019 season, but the star wideout effectively forced his way out of Oakland and landed with the New England Patriots.

Brown received quite a bit of scrutiny for how he handled himself over the course of his brief, yet tumultuous Raiders tenure. Bell, however, still views his ex-teammate in the same positive light, and he hopes AB will keep his head up as he vies to be an impact player in New England.

“Sometimes it’s kind of hard to overcome, like, when a lot of negative things are happening or people are saying a lot of negative things about you,” Bell said in a sit-down interview with ESPN’s Dianna Russini. “It’s like a snowball effect, right? Even what happened to me, when I had my suspension and things like that, I don’t ever want to get too low on myself. I hope Antonio’s doing the same thing. If I had to give him advice, that’s what I would give him. If you know AB personally, you’ll know that he’s a good person. He’s not really trying to harm anybody, you know? Maybe something he wants and he gotta go achieve it, but he might go a different way about it than other people would. But, you know, it is what it is.”

Bell’s cryptic comments, in a way, support the idea that Brown long has wanted to join the Patriots, who reportedly were the star receivers’s preferred destination as his time with the Steelers came to a close. Brown didn’t take a conventional route and his image was tarnished in the process, but he ultimately landed in a spot where he evidently feels comfortable and valued while also having a real opportunity to win.

It’s so far, so good for AB in New England, as he logged four catches for 56 yards with a touchdown in his team debut Sunday as the Patriots demolished the Miami Dolphins in South Beach. Brown will play in front of the Foxboro Faithful in a Pats uniform for the first time in Week 3, and as fate would have it, Bell will be on the opposing sideline.

Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images