There’s been a lot of talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers knowing running back Le’Veon Bell had a groin injury ahead of Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots and during his Tuesday end-of-the season press conference head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if he was aware of the injury and if it in any way affected the game planning ahead of time.
“I am aware of that, Tomlin said. “He was doing a great job of managing it. It didn’t cause him to miss any practice time, let alone game time. It was just something to manage. I think when you look at the journey that is the season, I think that just about every guy down there is dealing with and managing something in effort to stay on the grass. So I was aware of it, but it wasn’t significant to the point to where it affected planning or the anticipation of planning in any way. It’s unfortunate that it became an issue in-game, but it wasn’t something that was on our radar from that perspective.”
Bell, who missed two practices last week ahead of the game against the Patriots, said after the contest that he had been managing his groin injury for a little while and that he thought he could fight through it again on Sunday even tough he said he knew during pregame warm-ups that he wasn’t 100 percent.
“Yeah. I’ve been trying to micromanage it through the whole thing, just trying to keep it to myself and not trying to scare anybody,” Bell said. “Today [Sunday], it just kind of broke the camel’s back and I couldn’t go.”
Bell had six carries for 20 yards before having to leave Sunday’s game for good in the first half.
Because what happened last week to the Seattle Seahwaks as it relates to potential ramifications of how how they handled cornerback Richard Sherman on their injury report throughout the season, Tomlin was asked was to talk about what goes into his own process of deciding what to put on his own injury report and what to leave off.
“Like I said, just about every guy down there that’s playing, particularly those that are playing the amount of snaps that he plays, has something,” Tomlin said. “You would put 46 men on the injury report if that was the tipping point.”
Bell, who was given last Wednesday’s practice off and listed on the Steelers injury report as it being not injury related, also missed Thursday’s practice with an excused absence. Tomlin was asked about that excused absence on Tuesday and he would only say that it’s up to Bell to reveal why he needed to take a personal day.
Bell is now scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March and the general consensus is that the Steelers will place the franchise tag on him if they don’t sign him to a contract extension before the start of the new league year.