Le’Veon Bell is returning to the field on Sunday night after a three-game suspension and that’s good news for the Pittsburgh Steelers. You know who it’s bad news for? The Kansas City Chiefs.
“We are going to let practice be our guide in terms of that division of labor,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday via the Steelers website. “His level of conditioning is not a concern to us. A guy that is highly conditioned over a 12 month calendar. We have seen him every day, he has been a part of us, and he has been in the building. He is up to speed on what we are doing from a schematic standpoint and really in tune there. We will see how sharp he is physically once we get on the practice field. But rest assured, you are going to see Le’Veon Bell and probably a lot of him on Sunday.”
Bell was angry that he was suspended (like most players) so I expect him to be highly motivated in his first game back. He has been a workhorse in the past with nearly 800 touches over the past three seasons despite missing 10 games last season. In his last full year he had 83 catches (!!) so they will use him there too. That Mike Tomlin is not shy about stating their plans tells you a lot.
The hope for the Chiefs is that Tomlin is wrong and Bell isn’t in the best shape or that he’s rusty from his torn ACL last year. It’s not easy to miss multiple weeks and then come back in and start playing. How quickly he adjusts will be an early story line in this game.