Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Le’Veon Bell is on course to make his NFL regular-season debut Sunday in London Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Tuesday morning during his radio show that he’s not positive that will come to fruition.
“Honestly, I have no idea with him,” Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan. “You can’t get a read on him. One day, he’s practicing, one day, he’s not; one day, he’s going hard, the next day, he’s not. So honestly, I wish I could.
“If he was a guy like Heath Miller that you knew was busting his butt every day to get back there, because I know Heath is a guy that wanted to come back the day after surgery and that’s just who he is. I’ve known Heath for a long time, obviously played with a long time, so I know him better.
“Le’Veon is a rookie, I don’t know him quite well enough yet. But if he can come back and help us, we’ll take him.”
While some will clearly think Roethlisberger is insinuating that Bell is soft, I really do think this is just a case of the quarterback trying not to tip-off whether or not he’s playing this week. In fact, Mike Tomlin didn’t address Bell’s status until later in the day, so Roethlisberger really probably didn’t know what the rookie’s chances of playing this week were.
“We are excited about watching him be a full participant this week during the course of practice,” said Tomlin during his Tuesday press conference. “We will let that dictate his play, but we are optimistic about his availability.”