Westbrook: Le'Veon Holding His Ground

Le'Veon Bell is sending a message to the Steelers

Taz and the Moose
September 05, 2018 - 10:15 am

USA Today Images


The Pittsburgh Steelers have not had the greatest relationship with Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers have refused to reward Bell with a long-term contract, and Bell has skipped all of training camp for the second straight season.

And, with a Week 1 game at Cleveland just a couple of days away, Bell is yet to report to the team.

“Tough situation for the Steelers,” former All-Pro running back Brian Westbrook said on Taz & The Moose. “When you think of that team, you think of Big Ben. You also think of Antonio Brown. But to me, the glue that holds that entire thing together is Le’Veon Bell. He does so much for you in the backfield as far as blocking, protections, of course running the football, and being a capable receiver out of the backfield. You’re missing a big piece. I think they’re going to try to use James Conner just a bit there. Le’Veon is one of the best running backs in the league. No matter who the replacement running back is, you’re going to miss a big piece.”

Westbrook, 39, was one of the best running backs in football in the early-mid 2000s. He knows exactly how Bell feels.

“If I’m Le’Veon, I want to get paid my worth,” Westbrook said. “I want to get paid like one of the best players in the game. Same type of situation that he faced last year: what teams usually try to do is use you up, and when you’re past that over-the-hill stage, then they try to get rid of you. I think if you’re Le’Veon, you kind of hold your ground and hopefully they miss you an awful lot that first week and find a way to get you back into that organization, back into their building the second week.”

Bell has 1,200+ rushing yards, 600+ receiving yards and 20 touchdowns over the last two seasons – while averaging 27.5 touches per game. Still, Bell got off to a slow start – at least by his standards – last season.

“He started a little slow, and I don’t think this year would be any different,” Westbrook said. “Your body has to get used to the conditioning of a football game, the contact and just the sport in general. Usually that takes a couple weeks even if you’re in training camp. I think he will miss this time as far as the timing. All those little things that make him a great player, it takes time to ramp up and be that Pro Bowl player throughout the season. I think he will miss a little bit of time there.”

Kickoff in Cleveland is slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.