Wait, what? Am I suggesting the Pittsburgh Steelers keep the guy they drafted as the savior to the woeful running game on the bench? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting and I have a darn good reason why.
Bell is still recovering from the dreaded ‘Lisfranc’ injury in his foot. This is not your typical fracture and can in some cases lead to issues for the rest of a player’s career.
Denver’s stud tackle Ryan Clady was diagnosed with a Lisfranc fracture earlier this week and was thought to be out a few weeks. He is now on injured reserve and out for the season.
Translation: You don’t mess with this injury.
While Bell is reportedly doing individual drills for the first time since the injury, that shouldn’t signal his immediate return. It’s a process in returning from injury and he has just begun his.
The Steelers play on Sunday night and then travel to London for their game with the Minnesota Vikings. What follows the trip to jolly old England is the bye week. Keeping Bell on the sidelines would give him three extra weeks with which to heal and get in proper shape.
It would also give him some extra time to work with the offense.
I would like Bell back in there as soon as possible too but we have to be realistic about it. Do we seriously expect him to suddenly make the offensive line block better? That’s what it will take for any running back, not just Bell, to have an ounce of success.
There’s no doubt Bell is a significant upgrade over any running back we have right now but is a few games worth him re-aggravating the injury and having it become a problem for the season or maybe his career? No it isn’t.
The Steelers have a decent schedule when they return from the bye. They’re at the Jets, host Baltimore and then go to Oakland. With his presence in those games, they’re chances of winning improve as none of those three teams are anything special right now.
Bottom line? Don’t rush Bell back because the fans want it and don’t rush him back because he wants it. Bring him back when you as the organization know he is 100% ready to go for the remainder of the season.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.