The Pittsburgh Steelers will have starting running back Le’Veon Bell back this week for their Sunday night home game against the Kansas City Chiefs now that he’s finished serving his three game suspension for violating the league’s substance policy. While Bell hasn’t played or practiced since the preseason, head coach Mike Tomlin indicated during his Tuesday press conference that he has no plans to ease the team’s former second-round draft pick back into action.
“We’re going to let practice be our guide in terms of that division of labor, but his level of conditioning is not a concern to us,” said Tomlin of Bell. “He’s a guy that’s highly-conditioned over a 12-month calendar. We’ve seen him every day. He’s been a part of us, he’s been in the building, he’s up-to-speed on what we’re doing from schematic standpoint and really in-tune there.
“So we’ll see how sharp he is physically once we get him out on the practice field and kind of go from there, but rest assured you’re going to see Le’Veon Bell and probably a lot of him on Sunday.”
During the preseason, Bell, who missed the second half of the 2015 season due to torn ligaments in one of his knees, rushed for 21 yards on 3 carries in addition to catching 5 passes for another 37 yards.
After missing the first two games of the 2015 season, also due to a suspension, Bell returned to action in the team’s Week 3 game against the St. Louis Rams and rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in addition to catching 7 passes for another 70 yards.
“It might take this whole week to get adjusted, but I will be ready when the game comes around,” Bell said on Monday when he addressed the media.
In the Steelers road loss to the Chiefs last season, Bell rushed for 121 yards on 17 carries in addition to catching 4 passes in that game for another 16 yards.
“I just want to go out there and do what I do,” Bell said Monday. “I want to make sure I do all of my assignments, take care of everything, make plays and win the game.
“I have been working out individually, getting stronger, catching the football, cutting, rehabbing my knee, lifting, and little things like that.
“I know I will be ready.”
We’ll know Sunday night just how ready Bell actually is and if he can indeed provide a spark to the Steelers offense after getting just 55 total yards out of their running backs this past Sunday in the team’s 34-3 road loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Bell, by the way, is expected to be reinstated to the Steelers 53-man roster sometime on Thursday.