Steelers’ Bell feeling good; Tomlin awaits disciplinary action
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has come under league-wide scrutiny for his positioning on a 73-yard kickoff return by Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones Thanksgiving night.
Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell did some light running during practice Monday and said he hopes to play Sunday when the Miami Dolphins visit Heinz Field.
PITTSBURGH – Many people have Thanksgiving Day experiences they would just as soon forget.
For Steelers rookie running back Le’Veon Bell, he’d like to remember his final play of last Thursday night’s 22-20 loss at Baltimore.
Bell was hit by Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith and linebacker Courtney Upshaw as he tried to score from the 1 late in the fourth quarter. His helmet flew off and rolled through the end zone as Bell lay in a heap, his arms outstretched.
“I don’t remember the exact play. I didn’t remember it when it first happened,” said Bell. “Once I came off the field, I didn’t really know I had scored. Then they told me I did; then they told me it wasn’t a touchdown. I wasn’t aware of what was going on at the time because I got hit. I can’t really remember what happened.”
Bell was originally ruled to have crossed the goal line with the ball by on-field officials. But per NFL rules, when an offensive player loses his helmet, the play is immediately dead. After Bell and Smith, who also was shaken up on the play, were helped from the field, it was ruled his helmet had been dislodged before he crossed the goal with the ball.
Bell, who leads the Steelers with 528 yards and is second on the team with 847 total yards, said he is hoping to play when Pittsburgh (5-7) hosts Miami (6-6) Sunday at Heinz Field.
“I feel good. I felt like I started to feel better the next day,” said Bell, who had a season-high 136 total yards and a touchdown against the Ravens. “After the hit, I was out of it a little bit, but the next day I woke up and was feeling better and have felt progressively better each day.”
Bell did some light running on the side Monday as the Steelers returned to practice and must clear NFL concussion tests before he can be cleared for contact.
“It was a bad hit, but I got lucky,” said Bell. “I am glad nothing seriously wrong happened. It was an ugly hit, and I am lucky to be okay.”
While Bell is feeling lucky, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin might just as soon forget about the game against the Ravens.
Tomlin has come under league-wide scrutiny for his positioning on a 73-yard kickoff return by Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones in the third quarter.
Tomlin had one foot partially on the field as he watched the play unfold on the jumbotron with his back turned to Jones and was well outside of the designated area for players and coaches on the sideline. Jones cut away from Tomlin at the last moment, with the coach also jumping away from contact.
But Jones was caught from behind by Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen.
A new replay of the return from KDKA-TV shows Tomlin take a step toward the field as Jones breaks free up the sideline about 40 yards before he gets to the Steelers head coach.
The league office began a review of the incident on Monday and Tomlin faces a stiff fine for the incident, even though a penalty was not called and there was no contact between he and Jones or the official trailing the play.
Tomlin offered an apology following the game, and his players stuck up for him Monday.
“There was no intent at all,” said safety Ryan Clark, who noted that players and coaches are often on the white stripe in the bench area during games. “When he noticed he was in the way, he got out of the way. If he tripped (Jones), tackled him, it’d be a different story.”
Odds and end zones
Offensive tackle Rashad Butler, signed Saturday to provide offensive line depth because of injuries to center Fernando Velasco and left tackle Kelvin Beachum, left the Steelers Monday, citing personal issues. ... The NFL announced the start time of the Steelers’ Dec. 15 game at Heinz Field against Cincinnati will remain at 8:30 p.m. The time could have been changed as part of the league’s flex scheduling. ... Beachum (knee) did not practice Monday.