LeVeon Bell appears set to return to the Steelers. The one problem is that this is news to the Steelers. No Steelers player or coach has heard from Bell personally regarding his alleged Week 7 return. Regarding Bell’s potential fantasy football impact, you can sign up for FantasyDraft now to level the playing field.
“No, we haven’t talked,” Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Ed Boucher. Mike Tomlin told Boucher he hasn’t spoken to Bell either. Ditto for Ramon Foster and the rest of the organization. According to Boucher, “coaches who have tried to contact him through texts and other means have heard nothing in return from Bell.”
This thing has been ugly from the get-go, but it could get even uglier if Bell was just teasing the organization with a return. Even if he is now just having second thoughts, that would go a long way in ostracizing him from Pittsburgh.
“No reaction,” Foster said when asked about Bell saying earlier this week that he would be back later this month. “Man, we have a lot of stuff in house we have to deal with more than anything. If he shows up, that will be awesome. If he chooses to come later, that’s cool too. Our job right now is to win these games that are in front of us until he does.”
There is also a conspiracy theory out there that the Steelers front office told Bell to say he was coming back so that they could drum up some trade interest for him. The rest of the NFL knows that the Steelers have little leverage in this whole ordeal. If Bell says he is coming back, then the Steelers can sell other teams on the fact that he’ll be ready to go later this month for their team.
The Steelers’ preference is to trade Bell to the NFC, and there are several contenders that will be interested ahead of the NFL trade deadline. One of those teams is the Vikings, as right now it doesn’t look like Dalvin Cook will be able to shoulder the entire rushing load this season due to lingering injuries. Bell is also a noted pass blocker and as anyone who has watched Minnesota this season knows – Kirk Cousins has been feeling the pressure.
Another NFC contender that could use Bell is the Redskins. The best version of Alex Smith is one who is surrounded with talented offensive weapons, and while Adrian Peterson has looked strong thus far it’s doubtful that he’ll be able to keep it up for the next 12 weeks and potentially into January. Bell is the most gifted pass-catcher out of the backfield in the league and Jay Gruden would surely not be shy about using Bell as a slot receiver at times to give his offense a different look.
Something that went under the radar recently is that CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported that the Steelers were interested in doing business with the Seahawks. But that was before the Earl Thomas injury as Pittsburgh was interested in doing a player swap. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert may soon have to come to the realization that a player for player deal isn’t worth it and that draft picks may be the best way to go. The Steelers have just one win to their name this season, and if they fall to the Falcons this Sunday the attention in Pittsburgh will immediately turn to the future – not this season.
One final team that could be interested is the Packers, who are ranked 19th in the NFL in rushing. As noted above, Bell is tremendous in pass coverage and could help to protect Aaron Rodgers – who clearly is not 100 percent this season.