This past season, Le’Veon Bell was a beast for 17 weeks, accounting for 2,215 total yards, 83 catches and 11 touchdowns. He carried the Pittsburgh Steelers to an 11-5 record and an AFC North title.
And then, in the last game of the season, Bell hyperextended his knee and was done for the year.
“It was the worst feeling in the world,” Bell said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I was out there for 17 weeks. Whenever they needed a play, whenever they wanted to call on me to make a play, I was always there. I was always available. To not be available in the first playoff game that we held in a long time, not to be available going against a divisional rival, it kind of sucked.
Pittsburgh lost to Baltimore, 30-17, in the Wild Card round.
“I had no chance of playing,” Bell said. “I tried my hardest to get back, but I just couldn’t run. I couldn’t cut. The fact that I was out there even thinking about trying to play, it was a little scary.”
Bell’s injury occurred in a 27-17 home win over Cincinnati on Dec. 28. Bengals safety Reggie Nelson went low to tackle Bell following a 19-yard catch.
“The whole time I’m just (hoping) it’s not (my) ACL,” Bell said. “I knew something was wrong. I knew I was going to be done for the game. I was just hoping it wasn’t my ACL. That’s the only thing going from my head. I’m thankful it wasn’t.”
Bell partially tore his MCL and LCL. He couldn’t walk the next day, but the injury was nothing a few weeks of rest couldn’t fix.
“I’m glad it wasn’t as serious as it looked,” Bell said.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin wasn’t too happy with Nelson, even getting in his face after the game and exchanging some heated words with him. Bell, however, doesn’t think the injury was intentional.
“I don’t think he meant to hurt me,” Bell said. “I don’t think he intended to hurt me. Earlier in the game, me and him had a one-on-one heads up. I kind of got the best of him. He tried to go high on me, so I kind of (ran) him over a little bit. Plus, guys are so nervous to go high because of the rules, they’re trying to protect their paycheck. So he kind of went low on me. He just tried to get me to the ground, I feel like. I don’t think he intended to hurt me.”
In other news, Bell said he’s very happy that LeGarrette Blount has shined with the New England Patriots. The Steelers released Blount after he walked off the field and into the locker room during a November game at Tennessee on Monday Night Football. Bell rushed 33 times for a career-high 204 yards that night, leading the Steelers to a 27-24 victory.
Blount didn’t get a single touch.
“As a competitor, you’re always going to want playing time, but you got to be professional about it,” Bell said. “You can’t walk of the field, especially during the game. It’s just a bad look. I understand there had to be changes because you can’t walk off the field on your team.”
Signed by the Patriots, Blount rushed for 148 yards and three touchdowns in New England’s 45-7 AFC Championship win over Indianapolis.
“I’m so happy for him,” Bell said. “I have no grudge against LeGarrette. Me and him are still great friends. We’re still tight. He’s still a great guy. I know he’s not a bad person. He just made a bad decision and he understands that and he’ll learn from it.”