Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell is pretty good with his words. Talk to most rap music fans and they’ll tell you he’s a pretty good rapper. What I’m most interested in however is what Bell does now on the football field as he returns to action this week following his three-game suspension.
In his first comments since being reinstated, The personal issues are “behind me,” Bell said.
“There shouldn’t be any more off-the-field issues. I apologize to everybody for that,” said Bell, a free agent in 2017. “I just want to move forward. I’m ready to get back on the field and show people what I’m able to do.” (h/t espn.go.com)
I tweeted yesterday that I will take Bell at his word. I hope he does the things necessary to make sure he’s a great player on the field and not a problem off of it. I’m not going to lie here though; I’m concerned that he said “shouldn’t be any more off-the-field issues.” That leaves him open to some serious second-guessing in the event he has future off-field issues with marijuana and the like.
Perhaps that was just his choice of words and we shouldn’t read anything into and I won’t any more than I have. I’m giving Bell the hall pass here and I trust that he realizes one more strike means he’s not only done with the Steelers but probably football in general.
From the Steelers’ standpoint, Bell’s return comes at a good time. The team is reeling from a humiliating loss where the offense could only muster 251 yards and three points. His return however is about far more than just why he wasn’t on it in the first place. It’s also about his ability to be on the field.
Last we saw Bell on the gridiron he was being taken off of it on the golf cart after a severe knee injury against the Bengals. Being that this is Bell’s last year of his rookie contract, his health as well his off-the-field behavior will weigh heavily on what the Steelers will offer if anything. Already there is speculation they will not re-sign him, give him a low-ball offer with conditions or even tag him for the 2017 season.
Regardless of what happens in that situation, Bell needs to let his actions speak louder than his words over the short term. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and let the chips fall where they may.