Bettis: Steelers Owe Le'Veon Bell An Apology

Jerome Bettis found it "disappointing" that multiple Steelers criticized Bell for holding out

Reiter Than You
September 18, 2018 - 7:59 am

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have played two games without Le’Veon Bell and haven’t won either. They tied the Browns in Week 1 and lost to the Chiefs at home in Week 2.

It remains to be seen when Bell will report to the Steelers, but Jerome Bettis believes the time is now.

“He needs to come into the facility and sign his deal so that he can capitalize on the opportunity that he created for himself,” the Hall of Fame running back said on Reiter Than You. “Next year is going to work itself out regardless. You’ve got a guy in James Conner who the team is comfortable with utilizing him. So now when you come back, you don’t have to feel as though you’re going to get the lion’s share of all the carries and everything because now you’ve got a No. 2 guy who they’re comfortable with so that you can come out of the game and not feel the burden of having to provide all the running game.”

Conner has rushed 39 times for 152 yards (3.9 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. He’s also caught 10 balls for 105 yards. All of those numbers are career highs.

“I just think it’s an opportunity for (Bell) now to come on in and worry about next season next season,” Bettis said. “Obviously there’s nothing that’s going to happen between now and the end of the season. So you play the season out, capitalize on your opportunity, and go out and try to win a championship.”

When Bell finally does return, one must wonder how his teammates will respond to him – and how Bell will respond to his teammates. Several Steelers criticized Bell for holding out, which Bettis couldn’t believe.

“I thought it was disappointing,” he said. “As a player, what you have to understand is next year that could be you. So the last thing you want to do is say anything negative or try to respond in a negative fashion – because that could be you in just a year’s time. I would hope that those players have learned from that and this is a learning opportunity and realize that they were out of line – and that when Le’Veon does come back in, they welcome him with open arms and actually apologize for creating a situation where they should have never spoke on. It should have never been an issue at all.”

The Steelers (0-1-1) play the Buccaneers (2-0) on Monday Night Football on Sept. 24. Kickoff from Raymond James Stadium is slated for 8:15 p.m. ET.