Sportress of Blogitude

Le’Veon Bell on lack of Week 1 production: ‘Doing what I’m told’

Le’Veon Bell’s 2017 season got off to an inauspicious start, as the running back generated only 47 all-purpose yards in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 21-18 victory over the Cleveland Browns Sunday, a career-low. Bell on Wednesday attempted to downplay the lack of production, saying he’s just “doing what I’m told.”

Bell of course held out for the entirety of training camp, finally signing his $12 million franchise tender earlier this month just ahead of Pittsburgh’s Week 1 game. There were understandably some concerns about Bell’s readiness after missing out on so much practice time and preseason action. And those concerns arguably were justified in light of Bell’s slow start.

But Bell, who had some fun this week over his lengthy holdout, insists it had more to do with the game plan as opposed to any lingering rust.

“Of course, I want to be out there every play. I’m just executing the game plan and doing what I’m told,” Bell said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “However they plan to use me, I’ll be available. I’ll make sure I go out there and put everything on the line when I’m in the game, and do the best that I can.”

Bell was on the field for only 43 of the 60 snaps Pittsburgh had on offense in Week 1, but it wasn’t like the opportunities weren’t there for him to make a larger contribution. That said, Bell did get 10 carries (32 yards) and was targeted six times in the passing game, making three receptions for 15 yards.

Ben Roethlisberger on Wednesday denied any ulterior motives for Bell sitting out 17 plays, possibly as retribution for his holdout.

“The game dictated the way the game went and their defense dictated things,” Roethlisberger said. “It wasn’t ‘Let’s shut Le’Veon out and let’s see this that and the other.’ It was how the game unfolded.”

Odds are the Steelers will get Bell more involved on offense in the coming weeks, starting with Sunday’s showdown with the Minnesota Vikings at Heinz Field, regardless of last week’s relatively low output from the all-purpose back.