Steelers' Running Back Le'Veon Bell Draws Criticism from Ben Roethlisberger

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2013

Aug 19, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) hands the ball off to Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) during the first half against the Washington Redskins at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

With less than 52 rushing yards per contest, the Pittsburgh Steelers currently have the second-worst ground game in the NFL. Rookie running back Le'Veon Bell could change that if he plays in Week 4, but starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, for one, isn't convinced.

According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Big Ben expressed uncertainty regarding whether the Michigan State rookie will be active when the Steelers face the Minnesota Vikings in London on Sunday:

Honestly, I have no idea with him. You can't get a read on him. One day, he's practicing, one day, he's not; one day, he's going hard, the next day, he's not. I wish I could.

Roethlisberger even went so far as to question Bell's work ethic by comparing him to tight end Heath Miller, who returned to action in Week 3 after tearing his ACL late last season:

If he was a guy like Heath Miller that you knew was busting his butt every day to get back there ... Le'Veon is a rookie, I don't know him quite well enough yet. But if he can come back and help us, we'll take him.

Roethlisberger is considered one of the toughest players in the game for battling through injuries. Because of his high pain tolerance, it may be difficult for the two-time Super Bowl winner to understand what Bell is going through.    

Bell has been dealing with a torn ligament in his right foot, according to Bouchette, but head coach Mike Tomlin currently expects him to play against the Vikings, per the NFL's official Twitter account.

It remains to be seen if calling out his young teammate was the best course of action for Roethlisberger. His comments could irk the second-round selection, but considering he is a team captain and respected leader, they could motivate Bell to return with a bang.

With running backs Felix Jones, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer struggling to get anything going, the quarterback should be ecstatic about the prospects of Bell suiting up, especially against the Vikings' 21st-ranked rushing defense.

Although Roethlisberger's relationship with Bell may not be great right now, it could improve quickly if Bell is able to take some pressure off the veteran signal-caller in Week 4 and beyond.


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