Back when the regular season was just beginning, the Pittsburgh Steelers were steaming, and steaming for one very specific reason: their running back never showed up. While it was primarily a few select offensive linemen that were particularly vocal about their frustrations, you can be assured that there was a deep undercurrent of annoyance running throughout the locker room.
As the Steelers were struggling, sitting at the bottom of the AFC North with a 1-2-1 record and the running game seemingly grounded after an initial glimmer, we were still getting whiffs of that frustration, especially when ponderings from outside the locker room about how things might be different if Le’Veon Bell were here found their way into the players’ faces, expecting an answer.
A few weeks, a couple of wins, and a very successful string of rushing performances on, the pressure is off, and it seems as though Bell’s teammates—or former teammates?—are just sitting back and enjoying the saga as much as anybody else.
Because the reality is, at least for most of them, they know about as much about the situation at this point as everybody else does. Bell doesn’t even communicate at all with most people on the team, and even the likely small handful of players he does message, such as James Conner, made it clear that they don’t discuss business and plans.
The Steelers entered their lockers on Monday for the first time all season sitting on top of the AFC North. Some of them already knew this, some of them had the smiles creep over their faces when reporters informed them of that fact.
No matter when they insight came, it certainly seemed to lighten the mood. Not in the sense of providing any sense of comfort, but more so in the aspect of having weathered a storm and become accustomed to the new order of things.
The Steelers figured out how to run the offense without Bell, and how to win games. They played their two best games of the season heading into the bye week sitting in third place in the division, only to come back a week later owning the best record among their peers.
So sure, go ahead and ask your questions about Le’Veon. We’ll just laugh along with the rest of those who can appreciate the absurdity of the Fawty Towers-esque farce it has all become.
“I’m enjoying the ride just like you guys. I want to see how it plays out”, Maurkice Pouncey told reporters when pressed about what he might now about the running back’s intentions. “I’m waiting to see just like everyone else. No bets are out there, trust me. I think we’re just enjoying the process, see how it plays out, and hopefully the best for him”.