During the offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers were hoping to have running back Leveon Bell back with the team before the start of the regular season, but since contract negotiations broke down, Bell decided to sit out most of the season to avoid serious injury before becoming a free agent at the end of the season.
With Bell failing to report to the team, the Steelers decided to stick with second-year back James Conner as their starter instead of trying to trade for another player.
After the first three games, Conner had a few moments but didn’t look like he would be able to carry the type of load Bell did, but over the last two weeks, he has over 300 total yards and has given the Steelers some balance on offense after a pass-heavy start to the season.
Conner also ranks fifth in rushing yards with 453 yards and seventh in rushing touchdowns, which is more than the Steelers could have hoped for entering the season without Bell.
Leveon Bell News
Last week, there were reports that Bell intends to rejoin the team during their bye week. A few weeks ago, the Steelers and their fans would have been excited to have the best back in football back, but with Conner playing well without the extra baggage that has followed Bell the last two seasons, the team has a tough choice to make in the coming days. Will Conner play in Week 7 NFL?
After their win over the Cincinnati Bengals, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joked about Conner being benched in favor of Bell when he returns.
“What a great game, but I know it’s his last game for us because Leveon Bell coming back,” Roethlisberger said.
For his part, Conner doesn’t seem too worried about what will happen when Leveon Bell returns, telling reporters the decision was out of his hands.
“It’s not my call [who starts], I just control everything I can control,” Conner said after the game. “We know what Le’Veon brings to the table. He’s an awesome player so that’s out of my control.”