Le'Veon Bell Reportedly Still Concerned About Usage Level Upon Steelers Return

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2018

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) plays in an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is reportedly worried about being overused when he reports to the team.

After speaking with Bell, former NFL running back and current NFL Network analyst Maurice Jones-Drew discussed the situation on the Dave Dameshek Football Program on Tuesday.

"[Bell] was happy for James Conner after that performance, but that performance justifies why he's not there right now," Jones-Drew said. "If you're going to give James Conner 31 carries, imagine how many you'd give to Le'Veon Bell."

In Pittsburgh's Week 1 tie with the Cleveland Browns, Conner finished with 135 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, adding five receptions for 57 yards.

Last season, Bell led the NFL in carries with 321 and overall touches with 406. No other player came close to approaching his workload, as Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy was second in the league with 346 touches.

Since Bell and the Steelers were unable to agree on a contract extension, he will play under the franchise tag. While that would pay him over $14.5 million this season, he has no long-term security should he get injured.

That isn't outside the realm of possibility since Bell has played a 16-game slate only once during his five-year career. But by sitting out Week 1, he surrendered an $853,000 game check, and he appears to be on track to do so once again in Week 2.

To become a free agent during the offseason, Bell needs to report to the Steelers by Week 11. If his primary focus is on preserving his health and the opportunity for a big contract during the offseason, it's possible Conner will be Pittsburgh's bell-cow back for the first 10 weeks of the season.

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