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

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 17 08:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo's quick decision making and accuracy fit well with New England's playbook that includes quick-rhythm passes as part of the foundation, and Bucky Brooks [ More ]

Zach HockerMay 17 04:42p

The New Orleans Saints have signed free-agent PK Zach Hocker (Dolphins).

Joseph RandleMay 16 07:32p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has the skills to lead the team's backfield in 2015 but he'll need to work on his off-field issues, according to Jon Machota of [ More ]

Matt CasselMay 15 07:52p

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel is likely to enter Week 1 of the season as the team's backup quarterback, in the opinion of The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci. He [ More ]

Santana MossMay 15 07:12p

Free-agent WR Santana Moss (Redskins) is not ready to hang up his cleats and retire this offseason. 'I'm a free agent right now, you know how they do [ More ]

Robert TurbinMay 14 05:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Robert Turbin (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason, according to sources. No timetable was disclosed for his recovery.

Tom BradyMay 14 03:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has officially appealed his four-game suspension.

Greg SalasMay 13 02:23p

Free-agent WR Greg Salas (Jets) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions Wednesday, May 13. Financial terms were not disclosed.

John ConnerMay 13 12:03p

Free-agent FB John Conner (Jets) signed with the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, May 13. FB Corey Knox was waived to make room for him.

Tom BradyMay 13 10:03a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension could be reduced significantly, and possibly overturned, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Brady has put together a renowned legal team to appeal his suspension.

D.J. SwearingerMay 12 05:22p

Free-agent SS D.J. Swearinger was officially claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, May 12.

Fred JacksonMay 12 03:13p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson may not make the final roster if the Bills end up keeping only three running backs, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. RB LeSean [ More ]

Lance MooreMay 12 01:23p

Free-agent WR Lance Moore (Steelers) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions.

Justin BlackmonMay 12 11:02a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was denied reinstatement by the NFL this offseason, according to The Associated Press' Mark Long. It's unclear whether Blackmon failed a drug test or [ More ]

Joseph RandleMay 12 10:42a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could see the bulk of the carries as the season weighs on, in the opinion of beat writer Todd Archer. Archer pegged Randle for [ More ]

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 11 09:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to start while QB Tom Brady serves his suspension for 'DeflateGate'. Brady was suspended four games by the National Football League [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 11 07:12p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will appeal his four-game suspension, according to his agent.

Tom BradyMay 11 05:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has been suspended four games for his involvement in the deflated-football incident in the AFC Championship. In addition, the Patriots will lose their [ More ]

D.J. SwearingerMay 11 04:12p

Houston Texans SS D.J. Swearinger was officially released Monday, May 11.

Carey SpearMay 11 01:22p

Cleveland Browns PKs Travis Coons and Carey Spear will compete for the kicker job this offseason, and the competition is wide open at this point, according to special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

Garrett HartleyMay 11 01:12p

Cleveland Browns PK Garrett Hartley was released Monday, May 11.

Kyle ArringtonMay 11 10:32a

New England Patriots CB Kyle Arrington was released Monday, May 11, according to a source. The team left the door open for him to return.

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