Steelers vs. Le’Veon Bell: Is a revenge game still on their minds?
The Steelers and Jets running back Le’Veon Bell had an ugly fallout this past offseason. Are both sides still seeking revenge this weekend?
Steelers fans used to be infatuated with current Jets running back, Le’Veon Bell. The two-time All-Pro had a number of excellent years in Pittsburgh and was once considered among the best in the league at his position.
However, after failing to inform his teammates or coaches of his predetermined decision to sit out the entire 2018 season, things did not sit well with the Steelers. Though he was offered a very generous extension to stay in Pittsburgh, Bell left his team on bad terms and looked to prove why the Steelers couldn’t replace him.
Sadly, Bell’s plans were foiled. The Steelers have gone 17-12-1 since Le’Veon’s departure, and James Conner has done a solid job stepping into his role. Conner has averaged more yards per carry and yards per reception over the past two seasons than Bell did over his two most recent years. Conner has also caught a higher percentage of passes thrown his way and has punched in 20 total touchdowns in his last 22 games compared to Bell’s 15 touchdowns in his last 28 contests.
Though Bell is coming off perhaps his best performance as a New York Jet against the Baltimore Ravens, he is having by far the worst season of his NFL career – averaging just 3.3 yards per carry and 7.1 yards per receptions.
While Bell would no doubt like to get revenge on a team he thought low-balled him with a contract offer, it is the Steelers who genuinely have the vendetta. Bell walked out on his team and wouldn’t respond to his teammates to let them know how long he would be sitting out. He and Antonio Brown divided the locker unlike most players could, and it caused a distraction all season.
With Pittsburgh’s defense playing lights out, it will be them who gets their revenge this weekend. I expect the Steelers to be fired up for this matchup against a player who put himself above others on the team.
Not a lot of people are talking about the reunion of Bell and his old teammates this weekend, but you better believe the Steelers didn’t forget what happened last year. Let’s hope they take that fuel and use it to make sure the Jets can’t move the ball on Sunday.