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NFL to Investigate Non-Disclosure of Bell’s Injury

As if losing the AFC Championship game in flat fashion wasn’t demoralizing enough, the Steelers could soon have injury added to insult – literally. The NFL has plans of investigating the team’s non-disclosure of a groin injury that severely limited Le’Veon Bell against the New England Patriots; one that the Steelers failed to list on any injury reports throughout this year’s playoffs.

Following the defeat, Bell himself claimed that he had been dealing with the condition for a number of weeks, only for it to flare up early during the clash in Foxboro. Bell was largely ineffective before exiting the game for good, at which point DeAngelo Williams replaced him. The seasoned veteran did a fine job as always, but not before Pittsburgh started to abandon the ground game as things got out of hand fast.

“I was aware [of the injury],” confirmed Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. “But it wasn’t significant to the point where it affected planning in any way. It was unfortunate that it became an issue in-game. But it wasn’t something that was on our radar. I can go down a myriad of other people that have similar [injuries] they were working to manage [without being listed on the injury report].”

Now, a player’s performance during the game shouldn’t always be an indicator of how hampered they truly are in this era of modern medicine. But for Bell, who racked up 69 touches and over 350 rushing yards in his first three starts this postseason, it’s probably a sign that the issue was less a fully-fledged “injury” and more a symptom of the general wear and tear hounding most football players come January.

Still, the league has shown it won’t hesitate to lay down hefty punishment for teams attempting to shield injuries to key injuries from reporters and opponents. The Seahawks could reportedly lose a second-round draft pick for failing to list CB Richard Sherman’s MCL injury on the relevant report, though that situation seems somewhat more extreme than Bell’s ailment in this case.

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