After managing to set a new franchise record in 2014 for total yards from scrimmage in just his second year in the league, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is now already considered one of the best at his position that currently plays the game. In fact, former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis has taken it a few steps further as he believes Bell has the potential to be known as one the all-time greats.
“I think if he continues on his course, I think he can be one of the best that ever put on a uniform — not just a Steelers uniform, one of the best running backs ever,” 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Bettis recently told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Even though he’s missed three games so far during his career, Bell has already amassed 3,474 total yards from scrimmage in the 29 games that he’s played in. What’s interesting about that number is that Bettis had the same amount of yards from scrimmage after his first three years in the league with the Rams after 47 games played.
While Bell is built a little bit differently than Bettis, he still is able to break tackles and acquire yards after contact just like the former Steelers running back was able to do during his long career.
In order for Bell to fulfill Bettis’ claim, which in no way should be considered hyperbole, the former second-round draft pick out of Michigan State will have to stay healthy moving forward in addition to keeping himself out of trouble with the league.
Bell has missed three regular-season games and one playoff game due to injuries and is currently scheduled to miss the first three of the 2015 season due to him being suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy last August. Just imagine the kind of numbers he could’ve potentially boasted come Week 4 of the upcoming season had he played in all 35 regular-season games up until that point.
As for Bell hearing about what Bettis said recently about him, he said he was humbled by the kind words, as you would imagine he would be.
“That’s amazing to hear from a Hall of Famer himself, one of the greatest Steelers and one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game,” Bell said, according to Bouchette. “For him to rave about me, it’s an honor.”