Running back Le’Veon Bell has no plans to sit out either of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ final two games of the regular season.
It is common for teams who have secured their playoff positioning to rest some of their best players at the end of the regular season. The Steelers’ playoff positioning is far from set, but if they win on Sunday, and the Jacksonville Jaguars lose, that would clinch a bye week in the first round.
That could make the idea of sitting Bell in Week 17 appealing, especially because the New England Patriots hold the tiebreak after a Week 15 victory against the Steelers, but he wants to play the entire season. He skipped training camp and claims that was supposed to prepare him to play in every game. Last season he did sit out Week 17.
“That was always my original plan,” Bell said, via Jeremy Fowler. “I took a rest to make sure I could fulfill the whole season and take as many carries and as many catches as I need to get, and I feel fresh right now. I feel good.”
Bell did not participate in any of the Steelers’ offseason workouts or training camp. When he stepped on the field Sept. 4, Bell hadn’t practiced with his teammates since preparation for the AFC Championship Game last season.
It appears to have worked because he has played in every game, and he will likely surpass 400 touches this season against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Bell might indeed be better prepared for the playoffs, but he is also probably going to lead the NFL in rushing and catch more than 80 passes. Those stats should serve him well during offseason contract negotiations.