Last year, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell put on a clinic, both on the ground and through the air to the tune of 2,215 yards from scrimmage, passing Barry Foster’s club record 2,034 set in 1992. He was to the offense what the engine is to a Lamborghini, carrying the load, and making backup running back LeGarrette Blount an afterthought. He credits it to experiences his rookie year on learning exactly how to take care of one’s body to endure an entire 16 game season.
A big asset in his corner, from an advice standpoint was former receiver and current Carolina Panther Jerricho Cotchery.
“My rookie year Jerricho Cotchery kind of took me under his wing and showed me the ropes,” he said. “He played in the league a long time. He got me into a routine to make sure my body was prepared, fresh and ready to go.”
He also credits newly re-signed Steeler James Harrison, a workout nut who is known for his strenuous workout routines and acupuncture therapy to help the body stay in prime condition for the season.
“I watched what he did and took little bits of his recovery and put it into mine to make my body work,” Bell stated. “Whatever I can take from the veteran guys who have played a lot in this league, I have to pick their brains. That is what I am trying to do, play for a long time and be successful like those guys.”
At only 23, Bell has a chance to leave an indelible mark on the Steelers franchise, and if he can stay injury-free, and keep his off-the-field issue behind him, the sky is the limit for him. Could he have a chance at Franco Harris’s franchise rushing mark? Only time will tell.
Looking ahead to the 2015 season, he faces a suspension straight out of the gates, whether it be 2 or more games. This time around, the front office went out and signed a legitimate backup to Bell, one who the club won’t have to worry about being a locker room cancer, or one who negatively impacts their star runner Bell. DeAngelo Williams, the longtime mainstay and franchise rushing leader of the Carolina Panthers was recently signed to shoulder the load while Bell serves his punishment. When Bell gets back onto the field, he feels the show he put on last year isn’t anywhere near the player he can become.
“I definitely don’t think I am anywhere near the player I can be,” he said. “There are times in the games I feel like I left something out there. The stats will show I had so many yards or touchdowns, there were times I feel like I could have done more.”
If he can possibly do more next year once he hits the field on Sundays, he will take the offense to even greater heights than in 2014. And we’ll all remember the last time the team had the league’s toughest schedule what happened. He looks forward to nothing more than being able to run the ball down the opposition’s throat and they can’t do a thing.
“That is the best part of football because you are beating a man’s will,” he said. “As a defensive player there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to stop the run, especially if you know the run is coming, if you know where the ball is going. You can’t stop it and it’s frustrating. You take pride in it as an offense and look forward to it.”
Sounds like music to Steelers’ fans ears.