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With Conner Playing So Well, Ben Says Steelers Not Worried About Bell’s Return

‘If we couldn’t run the ball and we weren’t winning and things like that, then I think it would be different’

October 16, 2018 - 1:56 pm

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - On his weekly show on The Fan, Ben Roethlisberger took time to answer the weekly, obligatory Le’Veon Bell not showing up question.

“I had no preconceived notion. I didn’t think or know if he was coming, I just showed up and (other players) were messing with his locker, they put a to-go lunch on his chair like he was there so I don’t think anybody knows . . . if the media or people wouldn’t talk about it, we wouldn’t even be thinking about it truthfully."

None of the players around the locker room are worried about when Bell will show up and Roethlisberger says that is in part thanks to the way James Conner is playing at running back.

“If we couldn’t run the ball and we weren’t winning and things like that, then I think it would be different but you know James has been playing unbelievable football.”

When Bell comes back, Roethlisberger says he hasn’t played an NFL football game since January and that “there’s no way he’s ready to play against the Browns and we changed somethings in the playbook too.”

“Even when he comes back he’s probably three or four weeks away from being ‘football ready’ if you will and so that’s more time for James to keep working and even when Le’Veon gets back into football shape and is ready to go why not use both of them. There’s a lot of teams in the NFL that use multiple backs and keep guys fresh and I think that would be smart for us.”

One of the options being floated around is keeping Conner in the backfield and using Bell more as a receiver but Roethlisberger says they have plenty of slot receivers for that job.

“When Le’Veon is good at receiver is when he’s that third or fourth guy on the field . . . and the personnel we got receivers, tight ends and him, that’s where he creates some mismatch problems,” said Roethlisberger. “If you were to just put him out there as a third wide receiver that’s not really where he would thrive, he would thrive more as a guy that can much up on linebackers as that extra receiver.”

Roethlisberger and the rest of the Steelers have one more practice Wednesday and then have four days off for the bye week before getting ready for the Browns to come to Heinz Field October 28.

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