Art Rooney Assures Le’Veon Bell his Future is in Pittsburgh
When healthy, Le’Veon Bell is arguably the most dangerous offensive weapon in the NFL. Bell can run, catch, block, cut, evade defenders or simply run right past them…when healthy. Unfortunately for Bell and the Steelers, the renaissance man running back endured a horror 2015, but team president Art Rooney II has plans of keeping Bell in black and gold for years to come.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rooney told reporters that Bell’s future “is here in Pittsburgh,” and that the front office has “seen enough” of Bell’s production to warrant contract extension talks in the near future.
Bell missed the first two games of 2015 to serve a suspension for a DUI sustained one year prior. Once cleared to return, Bell was on the field for mere weeks before landing awkwardly in a tackle against Cincinnati, tearing his MCL and forcing him to miss the rest of the season.
Without him, the Steelers turned to wily veteran DeAngelo Williams, who exceeded all expectations as a starter. But with Williams hurt too and ineffective punt returner Dri Archer cut midway through the season, the Steelers limped into the playoffs with their fourth- and fifth-string backs, ultimately succumbing to Denver’s elite defense in the divisional round.
One wonders whether Rooney’s comments might take a load of pressure of Bell’s back as he returns for the final year of his rookie deal in 2016. Set to earn less than $1 million next season, Bell will undoubtedly be the best value player in the NFL.
With a renewal looming, though, some fans remain concerned that the franchise will have to choose between Bell and superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Brown is under lock and key care of a five-year, $42 million deal, but his stretch of production in the last three seasons may warrant him becoming the highest paid player in football; a term that might as well be a dirty word to the Steelers.
But for at least one more year, Steeler Nation can enjoy watching their Killer Bs in action. With another deep playoff run or, injuries permitting, a seventh Super Bowl championship, the Rooneys will be in no two minds about keeping the awesome foursome together for years to come.