On the first day of training camp, James Harrison will be forced to talk to league officials. Le’Veon Bell has a different Day One mission. Feel like the player he was prior to last year’s injury.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler issued a short video update on the back’s status and goals for training camp.
“He wants to be able to cut and run freely so when he gets to camp, he is a full participant. That’s really his goal,” Fowler said.
That is a wholly agreeable goal for him to reach, there’s no better news than a 100% Bell. But the Pittsburgh Steelers management are predictably a bit more cautious in their approach, wanting to avoid rushing him and the risk of a setback.
“And for the Steelers, it’s about cautious optimism. They’ll work him in.”
Fowler guesses Bell will eventually be eased into full-team work and possibly see his first game action by Week 3. That, of course, would be the only preseason action he’d see, obviously sitting out of the finale. None of that would be against the norm anyway. His snaps will always be limited, good health or not, to keep his body fresh and look at the rest of the roster.
Daryl Richardson and Brandon Brown-Dukes are two intriguing candidates who need to see a ton of reps. So is the slimmed down Cameron Stingily, someone the team liked enough to dish out a contract in rookie minicamp for a second time.
This is just my crack at it but the team will probably take a similar approach as they are with Maurkice Pouncey, playing it smart and “mapping out” his snap count. Bell does need some exposure, by August, he’ll have gone hitless for 9 months, but getting his body right for Week One against Washington is the most important element.
The mental hurdle might be the biggest obstacle for Bell. To trust his knee again, as we wrote about last week. That is something no one will be able to measure and calculate. Only Bell and those close to him will really be able to understand if he’s comfortable again. But in order for him to fully be healed, he’ll have to be.
Bell is currently down in Miami training at Pete Bommarito’s. He spent a chunk of the spring session there as well.