The Pittsburgh Steelers are not bashful in their opinion about the greatness of their running back Le’Veon Bell, who is doing things that no player has ever done before. Among qualified players, his career average of 129 yards from scrimmage per game is the highest total of all time. I don’t even need to include a list of names that that encompasses, because it’s all of them.
Still, even though know that him not being in training camp is a less than ideal situation. General Manager Kevin Colbert was asked about that yesterday while speaking to the media and he gave a pretty frank answer in response.
One reporter asked Colbert if he believed that Bell would be able to get off to a quicker start this season in comparison to last year, when his numbers were down at the beginning of the year. Even Bell acknowledged that his pedestrian tallies might have had something to do with his missing the offseason.
“He’s a Pro Bowler”, the GM said. “Did it hurt us? Could he have been a better Pro Bowler? Yes, I believe so because I think anybody that missed training camp, be it through injury or not being here, , they’re not going to be as good”.
This shouldn’t be news to anybody who has followed the Steelers for any period of time. Colbert was pretty honest about his opinion last year when Bell wasn’t there and of the importance of being in training camp and getting ready for the season.
“Was he still a Pro Bowler? Yes, he was. But from a team standpoint, which is our main focus right now, sure, to have everybody here is important”, he said yesterday. “But he’s not here, so we can’t dwell on it. All we can do is try to get better with what we’ve got, and whenever that changes, then we’ll deal with that”.
According to Joe Rutter, Colbert also mentioned specifically Bell’s conditioning. We have heard through secondary sources that there was belief within the organization that while the running back was in good shape when he reported, he was not in ‘football shape’, because there is only one way to accomplish that. Colbert’s comments essentially confirm that it’s the position they hold.
“He will be in top physical condition” whenever he actually reports, the general manager told reporters. “He won’t be in top football condition. When he gets on the field I never worry about Bell’s competitiveness because he is, he wants to prove that he believes he is the best”.
In other words, a reintegration curve is something that the Steelers believe is inevitable when he reports. No matter how long you might have been with the team, especially at the running back position, there are repetitions required to get into football shape and to reestablish a cohesiveness with the blocking of the offensive line.