NFL Investigating Steelers’ Handling Of Bell On Injury Report

The Pittsburgh Steelers knew running back Le’Veon Bell had an injured groin ahead of their AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots and now their under investigation for failing to list that ailment of his on the team’s injury report.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the NFL now looking into whether the Steelers failed to list Bell properly on injury report last week.

“I am aware of that,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday when asked if he knew about Bell’s groin injury ahead the AFC Championship game. “He was doing a great job of managing it. It didn’t cause him to miss any practice time, let alone game time. It was just something to manage. I think when you look at the journey that is the season, I think that just about every guy down there is dealing with and managing something in effort to stay on the grass. So I was aware of it, but it wasn’t significant to the point to where it affected planning or the anticipation of planning in any way. It’s unfortunate that it became an issue in-game, but it wasn’t something that was on our radar from that perspective.”

Bell’s groin injury wound up becoming an issue for the Steelers in the first quarter against the Patriots and it resulted in him needing to leave the game for good. After the game, Bell admitted that he’d been managing the injury for some time despite him not being listed on the team’s injury report with a groin designation.

“Yeah. I’ve been trying to micromanage it through the whole thing, just trying to keep it to myself and not trying to scare anybody,” Bell said after the game. “Today [Sunday], it just kind of broke the camel’s back and I couldn’t go.”

Last week, Bell sat out Wednesday’s practice and he was listed on the team’s daily report as not being injury related. The running back also failed to practice on Thursday as he was apparently excused from the team to go witness the birth of his baby in California.

It will be interesting to see if the Steelers wind up being penalized by the NFL, who are also looking into a similar situation with the Seattle Seahawks as it relates to them potentially failing to list cornerback Richard Sherman on their injury reports properly throughout the 2016 season.

There is some early speculation that the Seahawks could ultimately have a draft pick taken away from them if any wrongdoings are found related to Sherman and the injury report and you now have to think the Steelers might be in jeopardy of facing a similar punishment as well.

  • LHW

    Wow. The Steelers sure did end the year on some bad notes:

    Brown, this, the embarrassing loss, the fire alarm, Ben’s comments, etc. not all entirely their fault but you make your own luck. Despite the run to the Conference title, this has not been a model year for the team. Their record does not reflect all of the extra curricular crap that went on. Tomlin better really hit the reset button next year.

  • steelersfan

    Jesus it’s like every week with this team…even when they aren’t playing. Getting very tired of these negative news stories. Something is wrong with this team

  • PaeperCup

    I think a lot of it is blown out of proportion by the media.

  • steelersfan

    Definitely part of the problem. But given the media has a tendency to that I wish these players would shut up

  • PaeperCup

    It’s a tough position. These players are not always the smartest. No offense, but God blessed them with other talents other than public speaking. And sometimes it’s difficult, as honest truth as it is, these players are in the spotlight and they do have to be more careful with how the speak/act compared to your average joe.

  • Josh Gustad

    I like Tomlin, but things need to change.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    If the Steelers get sanctioned then Tomlin should list every player that is exhibiting soreness next season.

  • lone pistol

    Another bone head move by the Steelers organization. Keep your mouth shut bell. They are totally embarrassing the whole team. Tomlin or some one needs to take control.

  • capehouse

    As long as he didn’t miss practice or was limited in practice because of the injury then there shouldn’t be an issue.

  • steelersfan

    Yup. I don’t know if it’s just because I follow this team and obviously as a result have them under a magnifying glass but it feels like our players have foot in mouth or deal with disciplinary issues more than the rest of the league. Could also be bad luck and the media is awful but it feels like we are involved in every issue whether it is the drug testing/suspensions , deflating balls (which was a BS story), that whole al jazeera thing (another BS story), and then the internal team stuff with ben publicly calling people out and saying things about retiring, the whole AB situation, now this stuff with bell. Exhausting

  • PaeperCup

    If this happened during regular season we wouldn’t hear about it. Only 4 teams left playing, news stories focus on them…that’s my guess as to how this panned out.

    It is exhausting….but I don’t think we are along….and at least no one is beating their wife.

  • PaeperCup

    My opinion, it was properly handled based on the fact that he had a full practice on Friday, and showed no signs of being hampered in the previous weeks. Hardly an injury to be concerned about when looking at those factors

    Do they have to list every bump, sore, scratch to the NFL?

    Maybe they do, and just list EVERYONE as questionable since EVERYONE does experience those bumps.

  • steelersfan

    Haha no one doing that for now. It’s going to be a long offseason. Hope these guys can stay out of trouble. No sure thing these days

  • The Chin

    Just do what Bilichick does. Put everyone down as questionable

  • 20Stoney

    Ben said on his weekly radio show they were giving Bell practices off because of it. I was cringing when I heard him say it. Completely contradicts what Tomlin is saying now.

  • Jaybird

    Why are players even talking about injuries? And why is Ben talking about another players injuries. They should have a friggin gag order on them . God I hate the Patriots , but give them credit. You’d never hear players their talking about injuries to the media like this.

  • 20Stoney

    I agree with you, but that’s the world we live in . They all have their shows and get asked questions. They have to be smarter when answering. Really if I knew he was talking the team into a potential issue, he should know too. It’s like they can’t help themselves.

  • JB Burgess

    If they take a pick, Tomlin is an even bigger idiot

  • LHW

    I don’t think so. The media really cause these problems, for the most part things have been straightforward fact-based reporting. These stories are not like the he-said-she-said variety. This team can’t get itself together. Next up is Bryant’s case to be reinstated, we all now it is coming, but it will be reported on and yet another story. Questions will be asked by the media and fans, and rightly so.

  • RickM

    What a dumb decision to not list him. And then saying after the fact that they knew he was troubled by it and Bell himself says he was micro-managing it. And Ben says he was being given practice time off. Brilliant, just brilliant. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we are docked a pick. Why everyone on the Steelers is being so open about this is beyond me given the review underway on the Sherman injury.

  • PaeperCup

    They were reporting on AB’s facebook thing during the AFCCG still. This long after it was addressed by the team, AB, Tomlin, and the media….over a Facebook post.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    If the probable designation still existed, he would have probably been listed. Isn’t questionable a 50% chance? Besides that, he had a 99% chance of playing. No surprise there.

  • LHW

    That was not very long ago, less than two weeks. That story has pretty much disappeared. Six new ones have taken its place.

  • Paul Rainey

    It’s the head coach who has no control. He is a good cheerleader though. Funny how he criticized TB as unprofessional and then made the comment about being a Cowboy fan especially a Hollywood Henderson fan, but I guess that wasn’t unprofessional. Mike is not even close to being a good head football coach or a manager of men. You can talk about all his wins but they were due to the talent of the team, not the coaching of the talent.

  • RickM

    Questionable is known now as meaning either ‘probable’ or ’50-50′. There’s no reason not to list him, other than maybe competitive edge.

    But if you choose not to follow the league rules and list him, for goodness sakes don’t have three different people (MT, LB amd BB) later admitting that he was dealing with the injury leading up to the game and even was given time off from practise.

  • PaeperCup

    Exactly, it’s disappeared now that the Steelers are not relevant to the season.

  • PaeperCup

    To me, them being open about it says that they really didn’t think the “injury” was a big deal.

  • RickM

    It doesn’t matter. They weren’t open about it when they were required to be by league rules. A guy who is being given practice time off (according to Ben) and admits he is micro-managing his injury needs to be reported when the coach knows.

    I wouldn’t even care if there was just a fine involved. But they have already mentioned Seattle might lose a draft pick. I wouldn’t be surprised if the league sends a message with two teams having done it, and of course Bell being forced out of the game so early.

  • William Weaver

    Too much media these days.

  • Ralph Wagner

    Coach Tomlin knows best.

  • Paddy

    He practiced, hasn’t missed a game with it. it’s a groin as Cowher used to say

  • Steeldog22

    Yeah. Much ado about nothing. Runs for 167 and 170 so clearly no problem there then starts and tweaks it. End of story. There will be no consequences.

  • will

    Leave Jesus out of the discussion.

  • RickM

    How true. Why would Ben even admit that lol? It’s a bigger deal to the NFL likely with it being a true star in a Conference Championship. Given it’s the first time, hopefully it’s just a fine.

    And if the name Julian Edelman replaced the name Le’Veon Bell, no one here would say that the Patriots shouldn’t be fined. Not if he was intentionally held out of practice.

  • Brendon Glad

    I’m hoping it is a “blown up story”. I just watched the game again to confirm what I saw as it happened. And after the first run he bounced up fine…and after the second run he got up very weirdly. It definitely raised my “alarm antennas” as it happened during the live action.
    Like many of us, I WATCH LB get up after every run. Same way I do Ben or AB every time they are hit.

    That’s a very small sample-size…so it doesn’t prove anything.
    But if the Steelers tried to cheat, then not only would I be disappointed, but I’d also be bewildered that they chose that method…since I’m sure Belichick would have stayed up late at night wondering about how seriously he should take LB’s groin-issue, if there was one. And if it is proven that they did try to cheat the rules and lie about Bell…then it just will be an embarrassment. At least the Pats win Super Bowls with excellent cheating. Get blown away while cheating? Embarrassing.
    Let alone any lost draft pick that could come.

  • Brendon Glad

    OMG! Are you serious? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
    Ben needs to keep his mouth shut….BUT…the Steelers staff should NOT try to cheat!!!!
    And the 2nd part of that sentence is the dominant one.

  • The Truth

    Good job, Tomlin.

  • RMSteeler

    Would he have run for 500 if he wasn’t injured? Gimme a break.

  • Steel-on-Target

    So to avoid problems in the future, should we just put everyone on the injury report?

  • Rocksolid20

    The Patriots do it .

  • David Shoff

    If the league has a chance to take away a pick from the Steelers, they will. They always over penalize us knowing that the Rooneys will not put up a fuss against the league.

  • John Pennington

    Tomlin knew better not to do something like this time for Mr Ronney to call the coaches in for a meeting and let them all know that this is not how we do business.And while he at it start firing under achieving coaches so we can get back to the Superbowl. Change is needed on the coaching staff and Colbert needs to stepup also.

  • Steve

    Tomlin indited himself by saying he knew about it.

  • Steve

    We are not to Judge!

  • Steve

    LHW – Leaves sour taste in your mouth, sorta like Ben felt. Tomlin didn’t do his do diligence on this and may get his hands slapped, which may not fit too well with the Rooneys.

  • Steve

    Was not a player, when Tomlin said he knew about it.

  • Jaybird

    I know it would piss you off to no end if we lost a draft pick . I know you value all draft picks. But this is what I was trying to get at with Ben the other day when he announced he may not be coming back next year( which I don’t believe) . I just don’t get why he has to say things that have no benefit to the team. I’m not a great speaker , so it probable didn’t come out correctly , but this is what I was trying to say. I don’t care what he does as far as his life decisions go- it’s his life. But these comments just don’t do any God for the team . And this last verbal gaffe might even cost us a draft pick.

  • RickM

    I agree that Ben should not have spoken about Bell, but neither should have Tomlin. Bell said initially that he kept the injury to himself and then his HC and QB contradicted him. It’s like the keystone cops in terms of getting the story consistent. And of course Ben’s comment was the most problematic because now we seem to have an admission that they protected the injury by not paractising Bell.

    This is not Spygate, or Deflategate, or anything like that. Teams are just required to list known injuries and when you are held out of practice for 2 of 3 days, and your QB seemingly confirms why, it gets sticky. Especially with Bell tweaking it so quickly in the game. It’s not the normal ‘we’re all playing with something’ line. I read on PFT that it was a repeat offense for Seattle. That’s why the rumor is out there a draft choice may be taken. Hopefully we just get a fine or warning.

    As for Roethlisberger’s retirement comment, I just have no problem with guys who talk about their possible retirement as their career nears an end, Many superstars announce it and have a retirement tour in their final season or even two. If Roethlisberger’s statement is somehow going to make the team play more poorly in 2017, we shouldn’t be in the NFL. I think there’s an element of frustration and drama here. But he may also be unhappy with something else. He has 3 superstars playing with him and two of them have had multiple suspensions and the third one acts like a diva too often. Maybe it’s that, maybe it’s Haley, maybe it’s the criticism he gets, maybe he just wants attention, maybe it’s none of the aforementioned. Only he knows. And you always express yourself very well and logically by the way. We just differ on a few things (not many). The cool thing is that neither of us holds a grudge.

  • Jaybird

    I just don’t ever remember so much drama- Bryant, porter, K Williams, Bell suspension and hidden injury…etc.

  • RickM

    Agree. But for whatever reason we are welcoming back Karlos Williams and we chose not to take Kevin Greene up on his interest. Something tells me that times have changed quite a bit in terms of our team’s approach to drama. The old days where it wasn’t tolerated are long gone.

  • Jaybird

    I still can’t believe we brought K Williams back AND Porter.

  • RickM

    Lol. We both. In case no one has mentioned you have a lot of class by the way. Enjoy your weekend

  • will

    Who is judging? Requesting………use Hillary for emphasis instead!