Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell could return from a foot injury on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Early speculation indicated that the rookie would likely be held out at least through the team’s Week 5 bye, so the prospect of Bell playing this weekend makes it seem like he has been working hard and is ahead of schedule. Ben Roethlisberger obviously does not see it that way.
During his weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday, Roethlisberger seemed to question Bell’s work ethic.
“Honestly, I have no idea with him,” Roethlisberger said when asked when he expects Bell back, via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “You can’t get a read on him. One day, he’s practicing, one day, he’s not; one day, he’s going hard, the next day, he’s not. I wish I could.
“If he was a guy like Heath Miller that you knew was busting his butt every day to get back there … Le’Veon is a rookie, I don’t know him quite well enough yet. But if he can come back and help us, we’ll take him.”
Miller returned last week after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL during the offseason.
It sounds like Big Ben feels the former Michigan State star could use a little motivation. The Steelers running game has been nonexistent through the first three games of the season. They rank 31st in the league with 51.7 yards per game on the ground. Bell bruised his knee in training camp and was unable to play in Pittsburgh’s first preseason game. He then suffered a minor ligament tear in his foot and has not played since.
Head coach Mike Tomlin expressed more optimism over Bell’s progress than Roethlisberger.
“We are excited about watching him be a full participant this week during the course of practice,” Tomlin said. “We will let that dictate his play, but we are optimistic about his availability.”
The Steelers could certainly use a back who is willing to hit holes and run with a purpose. Frustrations are building and players are barking at their coaches as the team digs itself into a deeper hole. Time will tell if Bell can help them climb out of it.