Le’Veon Bell didn’t finish the last game he started. He exited the AFC Championship with a groin injury, and the All-Pro running back is still deciding what to do about it.
“I’m getting some recommendations from a couple specialists,” Bell said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “One specialists feel like it will heal on its own and it’s not as bad as it may seem right now. Another one thinks I should get surgery on it. I’m going to go see a third one – just to get a third opinion – and go from there.”
Bell was bothered by his groin for much of the season, but as the weather turned, the injury got worse.
“During the course of the year, I’m thinking it’s just tightness,” Bell said. “I’m just thinking, ‘I’m tight. I got to stretch.’ But the Dolphins game when it happened, it was just something different. It was like I pulled something. I didn’t tell anybody. I’m not trying to scare anybody and make people think I’m hurt when I’m actually not, but it started getting worse and worse. I look back on it and I’m like, ‘I should have told somebody.’ But I didn’t.”
Bell had a ridiculous season. He rushed for 1,268 yards, had 1,884 total yards and scored nine touchdowns – in just 12 games. The Steelers were a different team with Bell in the lineup, as Bell, Big Ben and Antonio Brown might be the best Big Three in football.
Bell just hopes that Ben Roethlisberger is back next season. The 13-year vet has hinted at retirement.
“Me personally, I’m hoping he’s not,” Bell said. “I don’t know what’s going on at home or what made him feel like he had to say that. I don’t know how his body’s feeling. I obviously selfishly want him back. I feel like he’s our best chance at quarterback to go get a Super Bowl ring. I’m always behind his back for whatever he chooses to do, but I want him back.”
Roethlisberger, however, was frustrated by the Steelers’ lack of discipline this season. Yes, Pittsburgh won nine straight games heading into the AFC Championship, but suspensions to Bell and Martavis Bryant – not to mention Antonio Brown’s social-media antics – marred an otherwise successful season.
“I just think overall this year there was some off-the-field issues that kind of slowed us down a little bit, kind of drew us away from the actual football game,” Bell said. “Maybe he was a little frustrated with that. That’s something we got to overcome, something we got to get better at. Going into next year, I don’t see that happening or being a problem. I think guys learn from their mistakes. We got a lot of smart players, and we’re going to continue to move on.”
Mike Tomlin publicly reprimanded Brown for his decision to live-stream Pittsburgh’s locker-room celebration following an 18-16 playoff win over the Chiefs. When Tomlin addressed media about the incident, he looked angry.
It wasn’t an act.
“He took it serious,” Bell said. “Coach Tomlin is not a guy just to bluff. He wasn’t happy about it, especially because we’re in the locker room after a game. When we huddle up at the end of the game, those are like personal words. He’s kind of like talking to the team. That’s why he was so upset about it. I don’t think AB’s done it purposefully. I don’t think he’s purposefully tried to make distractions or get a whole bunch of attention to himself. I just think he wanted to draw fans in, let him get that feeling how he was feeling after the Kansas City game. But he just did it the wrong way.”