2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Foot healed, Steelers RB Bell ready to get going

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-25 16:36

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Le'Veon Bell believes he's a quick healer. Of course, he'd like to stop having to prove it.

The rookie running back will make his long awaited debut Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to London to face the Minnesota Vikings. Bell hasn't played since spraining his right foot two carries into a preseason game against Washington last month.

Originally told he would be out eight weeks, Bell plans to be ready in six. He practiced on Wednesday and barring a late setback will be available as the Steelers try to avoid their first 0-4 start since 1986. While Pittsburgh's problems go far deeper than the running game - which happens to be 31st in the league - his teammates are anxious to get a look at the second-round pick on the field instead of on the sideline in street clothes.

``I'm just excited to see what he can do because nobody knows,'' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. ``Nobody's seen him in game action.''

Bell was one of the most durable players in the nation during his sophomore and junior seasons at Michigan State. He touched the ball 414 times in 2012 without so much as an ingrown nail. In the span of his first three weeks in Pittsburgh, he sprained his knee, then followed it up by jamming his foot on the second play from scrimmage against the Redskins.

Doctors cleared him for contact last week. Too ``rusty'' to play in last week's loss to Chicago, Bell will try to do what he can to help turn things around.

``When I get the ball in my hands, I want to make positive plays and do what I can with it to give my teammates and coaches confidence in me,'' Bell said.

The Steelers were confident enough in Bell to let Rashard Mendenhall walk in free agency and make Bell the 48th overall pick in the draft. At 6-foot-2, Bell is tall for a running back, though it's hard to tell sometimes because of Bell's churning running style. He made a habit of hurdling defenders at Michigan State and has trimmed down to 230 pounds over the last few months to help him hit the hole a fraction of a second faster.

If anything, Bell will at least put an end to the committee approach that hasn't really worked. Given ample opportunity to make a case to be the starter the trio of Isaac Redman, Felix Jones and Jonathan Dwyer failed to distinguish themselves. Dwyer showed a burst with a 25-yard sprint against the Bears, but his conditioning remains an issue and he's a non-factor in the passing game.

That's where Bell may have his biggest advantage. He caught 32 passes for the Spartans last fall, and a few well-designed screens against the Vikings may help take some of the pressure off an offensive line that at times has looked overmatched without Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, who is out for the season with a knee injury.

``We wouldn't have brought (Bell) here if he wasn't an all-around back,'' Roethlisberger said. ``He's more than just a guy that is going to run the ball.''

Forced off the field for the first time in his career, Bell immersed himself in the playbook.

``Even when I wasn't playing, I knew everything,'' Bell said. ``The switches that we do week-to-week, I picked that up quick pretty quick.''

All of which is nice, but Bell understands it's time for him to stay in the game. His role may be limited as he works his way back but when he's out there, he knows he has to prove he can withstand the pounding he's sure to receive against a team that - much like the Steelers - is looking to break out of an early season funk.

``This is my chance to show these guys what I'm all about,'' Bell said.

Asked if maybe he's fibbing a bit about his progress because of the pressure he feels to return and Bell just shakes his head.

``I don't feel like I'm rushing it at all,'' he said. ``At the end of the day, I know that I have a long career (ahead), but I feel like I'm ready now. And I'm ready to help this team win games. (And) my foot hasn't shown any signs of setbacks, so it feels like it's ready, and I know I'm ready to go.''

--

NOTES: DE Brett Keisel (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday. CB Cortez Allen (ankle) and NT Steve McLendon (hamstring) did practice and are expected to play against the Vikings ... G Ramon Foster had a meeting with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin earlier this week for pointers on how to be a better leader with Pouncey not available. ``You don't want to be a leader in this sport and in this group and talk down to guys,'' Foster said. ``You've got to be able to coach and motivate guys, and I went to him to get some advice about that.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Tom BradyJan 22 10:12a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is now scheduled to speak to the media Thursday, Jan. 22, and he could come under fire due to the report of deflated [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictJan 21 09:03p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) has had knee surgery, head coach Marvin Lewis confirmed Wednesday, Jan. 21. While there has been concern Burfict might have to begin the [ More ]

Mike WallaceJan 21 09:03p

Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace's future with the team is unclear. General manager Dennis Hickey would not say Wednesday, Jan. 21, whether Wallace will be back or if his [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 21 04:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could benefit from new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, according to Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr. Carr said DeFilippo will do great with Manziel, adding [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 21 04:23p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) said he will practice in a brace, but should not have any limitations on gameday.

Marc TrestmanJan 21 03:53p

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said he wants to learn the specificities of the team's offense instead of changing it. Head coach John Harbaugh said Trestman's familiarity and [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles should be able to develop under new offensive coordinator Greg Olson, according to general manager Dave Caldwell. Caldwell said Olson has the ability to [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles developed bad habits and may need to start over, in the opinion of NFL Films guru Greg Cosell.

Latavius MurrayJan 21 12:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray is likely to be the team's lead back in 2015, and new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave plans tailor his system to Murray's talents. Musgrave [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 21 11:03a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning plans to return in 2015, pending the results of his annual physical, according to three sources The Denver Post's Woody Paige trusts. The test [ More ]

Rashad JenningsJan 21 10:23a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings could have a veteran running back to complement or compete with him next season. The team could possibly add a change-of-pace back and [ More ]

Trent RichardsonJan 21 09:13a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson was suspended and deactivated for the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 18.

Joique BellJan 20 11:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell had minor surgery last week to clean up his knee and Achilles' tendon. He is expected to return in time for organized offseason workouts.

Doug MarroneJan 20 05:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said the team is committed to remaining a zone-blocking team. However, new assistant coach and offensive line coach Doug Marrone didn't use a [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 20 05:13p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning remains unsure of his future with the team, but head coach Gary Kubiak said he plans to sit down with Manning and talk about [ More ]

Tyler BrayJan 20 04:23p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Tyler Bray (knee) has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Marc TrestmanJan 20 03:43p

Free-agent head coach Marc Trestman (Bears) was hired by the Baltimore Ravens as the team's offensive coordinator Tuesday, Jan. 20. Trestman was previously the head coach of the Chicago Bears.

C.J. AndersonJan 20 01:33p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished the year with 849 rushing yards, 324 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, is looking forward to his role in new head coach [ More ]

Latavius MurrayJan 19 09:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray could benefit from offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who has used a run-heavy style in the past.

Reggie WayneJan 19 07:03p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (triceps) is unsure if he will be returning for another season. Wayne was targeted just twice in the loss to the New England Patriots [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 19 03:43p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) suffered a sprained elbow during the NFC Championship game, according to a source, but should be able to play in the Super Bowl.

Randall CobbJan 19 02:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb said his preference is to re-sign with the team this offseason. 'Of course (I want to be back). I think I've made that [ More ]

Marshawn LynchJan 19 02:13p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch may consider retirement if the Seahawks win the Super Bowl, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Lynch has reportedly told people in private that [ More ]

Earl ThomasJan 19 01:03p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder), who is dealing with a dislocated shoulder, said he will play in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.

LeGarrette BlountJan 19 12:43p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries in the team's win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 18 11:13p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) suffered an elbow injury in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 18, but he said after the win [ More ]

Gary KubiakJan 18 10:02p

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak will take the Denver Broncos head coaching position, as expected, multiple outlets are reporting Sunday, Jan. 18.

Justin BrittJan 18 01:52p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared QB B.J. Daniels, TE Cooper Helfet, DL David King, SS Jeron Johnson, OT Justin Britt, OL Keavon Milton, CB Marcus Burley inactive for Week 20.

Jeff JanisJan 18 01:42p

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Demetri Goodson, RB DuJuan Harris, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo inactive for Week 20.

Andrew LuckJan 18 01:02p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck has been working with the team on a contract extension that could be the richest contract in the NFL, according to a source.

Carson PalmerJan 18 10:22a

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (knee) said he feels great and that he is ahead of schedule in his rehab from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Palmer started jogging [ More ]

Trent RichardsonJan 17 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (personal) did not make the trip to New England for the AFC Championship game.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group