Dunlap: Bell Never Thought Conner Would Succeed

Colin Dunlap
November 14, 2018 - 7:01 am
James Conner

Phillip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Like you, I grew tired of the Le'Veon Bell saga. Sure, the incessant talk about it --- remember, I'm in the talk business --- was good for business. But it got grating, it got mundane and, really, it just got plain old. 

I'm pretty happy, for the most part, it's all done. 

In retrospect looking back at all of this, I don't care to revisit it chapter and verse. I'm not interested in going over the intricacies of the different franchise tags or where Le'Veon Bell will end up or the general boneheaded nature of his agent. I'd much rather talk about the real chances of this edition of the Pittsburgh Steelers moving forward and how they could just be turning into a legitimate contender in the AFC. 

But I do want to get to the heart of one thing. I want to get to the heart of this whole thing...

This entire Le'Veon Bell situation happened, and continued to roar through into mid-November because, quite simply, he never thought James Conner would be this good. 

Bell bet against Conner --- he bet heavy against Conner. 

Bell never thought Conner would be anything more than his backup. He thought Conner would be the guy who comes in when he taps his helmet. 

Don't ever forget that. 

Don't ever let Le'Veon Bell fool you into thinking he was some team player. 

Don't ever let the charade of Le'Veon Bell posting his Pro Bowl vote for Conner on social media twist your thinking. It was and is all a front and a lie. A big game for Le'Veon Bell who has proven, if anything, he doesn't know all that much how to play the P.R. game. In reality, he really sucks at it. 

You see, the truth of the matter in all of this is that Bell was actively rooting against Conner. He wanted Conner to --- and thought he would --- fall flat on his face. Bell felt as if the Steelers would be in a position where they quickly needed Bell to hustle back into the lineup because Conner wouldn't be a guy who could handle the rigors of the NFL as a feature back. 

That was Bell's fundamental plan in all of this. 

It turned out to be his fundamental flaw and ultimate failure as a Steeler. 

As it stands right now, Conner has gained 771 yards and scored 10 touchdowns this season. He is the third-leading rusher in the league. 

Never in a gazillion years did Bell think this could occur. Never did he think Conner could perform the way he has. 

In Bell's world, he thought for sure Conner's inadequacies would force the Pittsburgh Steelers to scream for Bell's services; to beg for him back. 

Instead it has gone the other way --- Conner's game made Bell expendable. 

Le'Veon Bell bet on himself but, more to the point, against James Conner. It was the most unwise bet Bell will ever make.  

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