If all goes well this week in practice, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Le’Veon Bell will make his NFL regular-season debut Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London against the Minnesota Vikings. Head coach Mike Tomlin addressed Bell’s situation Tuesday in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
“Were excited also about getting Le’Veon Bell back this week,” said Tomlin. “He’s expected to be a full practice participant this week and play. We’re looking forward to that and we think he can provide us a shot in the arm as well.”
Bell hasn’t played since spraining his foot in the second preseason game against the Washington Redskins, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Tomlin will just ease him back into action against the Vikings.
“Hey, I’m not going to put him in a uniform to stand by me,” Tomlin said when asked about what Bell’s workload Sunday could potentially be against the Vikings.
Despite the Steelers having only rushed for an all-time franchise low 155 yards through their first three games of the 2013 season, Tomlin did say he was encouraged by how they ran the ball Sunday night in the 40-23 loss to the Chicago Bears.
“I think we had the makings of a good run performance the other night, to be quite honest with you,” Tomlin said. “It’s just that the game got out of control because we turned the ball over and spotted them a number of points.
“But we were running consistently, we were clicking on first and ten and over four yards a carry. I liked the contributions of Felix Jones, I thought Jonathan Dwyer came in and provided a spark for us. We’ll continue to utilize those guys.”
On the latest depth chart released Tuesday by the team, Felix Jones is listed as the co-starter alongside Bell. Jonathan Dwyer is listed next with Isaac Redman bringing up the rear. With Bell now expected to play Sunday, there’s a good chance that Redman could be inactive against the Vikings if the decision to only dress three running backs is made.