Steelers RB Bell feels ‘lucky’ after big hit
Le’Veon Bell knows it could have been worse.
The Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back considers himself
”lucky” he sustained nothing worse than a concussion after taking
a big hit from Baltimore defensive back Jimmy Smith at the goal
line of Thursday’s 22-20 loss to the Ravens.
Bell was attempting to bring Pittsburgh within a 2-point
conversion late in the fourth quarter when he crashed into Smith.
The collision jarred Bell’s helmet loose. By rule, the play was
ruled dead immediately, nullifying an apparent touchdown.
Turns out, not scoring was the least of Bell’s worries. He
acknowledged Monday he was ”out of it a little bit” as trainers
took him off the field and wasn’t aware the touchdown was negated
until much later. Pittsburgh scored on the following play but
couldn’t execute the 2-point conversion, falling to 5-7 with a
month left in the regular season.
Bell was able to run on Monday but held out of full practice. He
has taken the ImPACT test under NFL guidelines and it’s unclear if
he’ll be available for Sunday’s game against Miami (6-6).
Having 10 days between games could give Bell enough time to
heal. But the 21-year-old is simply thankful he didn’t leave the
field on a stretcher.
”I’m glad that nothing seriously wrong happened,” he said. “It
was definitely an ugly hit. I don’t remember the exact play. But
once I seen the film, I know what it looks like now.”
Bell leads the Steelers with 528 yards rushing and five
touchdowns. He is also fifth on the team with 33 receptions. Taken
in the second round of the 2013 draft because of his versatility,
he has given Pittsburgh’s struggling running game some needed
If Bell can’t play, the Steelers will turn to Jonathan Dwyer or
Felix Jones when they face the Dolphins. Whoever is in the
backfield will play behind an offensive line that can’t seem to
Pittsburgh lost center Fernando Velasco for the season with an
Achilles injury, making him the second center to end the year on
injured reserve. Perennial Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey played just
eight snaps this season before tearing the ACL in his right
Guard David DeCastro (foot), left tackle Kelvin Beachum (knee)
and reserve tackle Mike Adams (ankle) are also hurt, forcing the
Steelers to scramble to find five healthy linemen for practice on
Monday. They signed well-traveled center Eric Olsen and tackle
Rashad Butler on Saturday, though Butler’s stay was short-lived
after he left the team on Monday due to ”personal reasons.”
Cody Wallace, signed for depth purposes in September,
anticipates making the first start of his NFL career against the
Dolphins. If he starts, the Steelers will have their seventh
different starting line combination this season.
”This year has been kind of unusual in that way,” Wallace
said. ”But we’re fortunate to have enough guys to step in and make
an impact after the starter got hurt. I’m glad to be part of that
group, too, but this really has been an interesting year in that
Pittsburgh’s unlikely hopes for a playoff berth remain alive
after losses by San Diego, the New York Jets and Tennessee on
Sunday. If the Steelers can win out – they face just one team with
a winning record the rest of the way – and get a dash of help, they
could find their way from 0-4 to the postseason.
”We’re still in this thing,” Dwyer said. ”It’s crazy. You
know the things we wanted to happen this past weekend, they
happened. We know if we start stacking wins, we’ll see things work
out our way.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org