Le’Veon Bell: Steelers Are ‘Running Me Into The Ground At Practice’

It’s no secret the Pittsburgh Steelers are giving Le’Veon Bell one of the league’s heaviest workloads. He’s leading the league with 194 carries, on pace for a whopping 388 carries (and that doesn’t count receptions). During interviews, Bell has said he embraces the workload, but he may have let out a little frustration after today’s practice.

From his Snapchat, Bell talked about how hard the team was working him. He added a caption of “lol I’m retiring after this year” alongside it, though I think we can safely think that’s a joke (and wait for the clickbait headlines with that in the title).

Here’s the video, via our Daniel Valente. Some slight NSFW language included.

The key portion of what Bell said if you’re unable to watch the clip.

“I ain’t going to lie to you all. I’m tired as hell. They be running me into the ground at practice. Every damn rep. Well, not every rep. JC be getting me a couple of breathers here and there. But god damn bro, Thursday’s the worst day of practice.”

Bell went on to joke about why he signed up for football in the first place, saying he should’ve played lacrosse instead. He concluded it by saying football is “too much on my body.” Also worth pointing out that in the snap before these ones, Bell sounded excited for practice, chanting that it was time to go to work and get better. So this isn’t someone who is dreading coming to practice.

But it certainly runs counter to what Bell has said publicly in the past. Previously, he’s embraced getting a heavy workload and being the bellcow. Once, when asked how many more games of 30+ carries he could handle, Bell quipped back, “How many games are left?”

And Bell has told reporters he avoids big hits on most carries, unlike most other backs in the league. But there’s no denying the Steelers have put all their eggs in Bell’s basket to lead them to victory and close out several of the past games.

He already has three games of at least 30 carries, more than he’s had in the rest of his career (two). An alarming statistic, no matter what the rationale is.

Recently, Todd Haley was asked about monitoring Bell’s workload.

“We’ve talked about this a lot. He’s a great back and that’s something we talk about a bunch, not just with him but with all players. It’s something that Coach T [Mike Tomlin] does a great job of keeping track of.”

Pittsburgh’s plan may be to run Bell now to save him for late in the season. Rest him in Week 17 and hopefully a first round bye. But in the meantime, they may have to tweak their strategy, at least in practice, to keep Bell fresh and an asset the rest of the way.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • heath miller

    cant see running him that hard in thursdays practice?

  • WARisHELL

    How dense can you be? All the drama this team has been through the past few years and he thinks it’s a good idea to complain on social media. Take it to the coaches, man. SMH.

  • westcoasteeler

    Complaining about practice…? C’mon, man.

  • heath miller

    not sure its an actual complaint… he was laughing

  • Alex Kozora

    Not in the first part.

  • will

    How much is he getting paid???

  • nutty32

    Sounds like someone had lunch with their agent.

  • Dshoff

    Yeah, let’s leave it to Tomlin to save our players. We’ve seen how he takes out Ben late in games when the outcome is decided.

  • Um…….really? Retiring after this season? Perhaps BSing to get more money?

  • If he quits, it’s because he wants to rap (which I think he’s not very good at) and to be able to smoke weed.

  • pittfan

    less than a full load of bricks…

  • rystorm06

    Not the game, that Le’Veon Bell plays every game like it’s his last, we talking bout practice man. Practice? Not the game, we taking about practice man.

  • pcantidote

    Well, we’ve been due for some drama…

  • Crowned

    I complain about work too. It happens.

  • SeventhHeavan

    Why would you put that on social? Keep it to yourself Leveon. No one wants to hear that but you. But can you imagine if he gets hurt? We are done..lol There is no way Ben can shoulder the load the way he is playing. The offense starts and ends with Bell. He is definitely getting his money…

  • SteelCity

    If this is not a joke with LB trolling everyone talking about him being run into the ground I will be surprised…CBA protects players in practice…plus we just heard how everyone including the GM monitors LB in practice

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Given who the coach is are we surprised?. Ask slow Willie Parker who used to be fast Willie Parker.

  • Steeler Nation!

    The O line carries this offense. We ran the ball well with old man Deangelo the last 2 years. Bell is getting his money…right now. And he may get it again next year. But after that, it’ll be elsewhere.

  • Mike Lloyd

    It’ll be an early clinch. He can have off 3 weeks basically. Just keep him sharp. It’s a tough balance…
    These kids see guys like Earl Campbell- then they see guys like Barry Sanders and Robert Smith and Jim Brown …who would you choose to be at this point? I digress…
    This is why this kid is so hyped on getting paid. Can’t blame him. He’s basically got 3 years of earning potential left.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    good.

  • Jason

    He’s trolling

  • T3xassteelers

    Least this site isn’t saying that Bell is hinting at retiring.. lmao

  • Generic Steelers Fan

    My grandmother agrees with you

  • Kevin Schwartz

    I dunno, pretty sure he was just joking around after a long day. I’m not too worried – but, if he is getting too many practice reps, the Steelers should probably give him a breather once in a while.

  • MC

    What I want is for the steelers to jump out to big leads so they can sit him for Connor and Watson with the game decided or almost decided. Sure Bell can handle the workload but the more carries increases the chances of an injury. If this offense can play up to their expecations and put points up early then they have the freedom to rest him for the younger guys.
    When the game is undecided however, you gotta go with the best player available.

  • dany

    I sense sarcasm coming from him. Didn’t an interview just come out where he said kind of the opposite?

  • Generic Steelers Fan

    This reminds me of that thing Mike tomlin said about wheels and Willie Parker. You might not have heard it, no one everrr mentions it

  • Ralph Wagner

    We don’t know if that’s true. That’s Bell being Bell. Always has to stir up something. He’s saying he may have a poor performance on Sunday,
    covering his butt. LOL

    Go Steelers

  • Jason Vancil

    Getting their $$ worth.

  • ND_Steel

    Looks that way doesn’t it…

  • Your grandmother is one cool broad!

  • Because he’s a diva. I think he’s the best in the league, but at times, I wish someone would sew his mouth shut.

  • Hey, if he can joke around, so can we. lol

  • You should know from experience, Heath. 😉

  • Brenton deed

    You know in some sports (AFL) when a team is confident they’re going to make the finals (playoffs) they load up their stars with extra training and then taper them so that they peak at the right time. The risk is that the team goes “flat” and drops a game that it shouldn’t but that’s the calculated risk they take.

  • PaeperCup

    No big deal. We all have those days.
    Just a testament of how hard these pros work, and how hard he works to be the best. If anyone wants to argue they get paid millions just to play a game….

  • NinjaMountie

    While what he’s feeling isn’t new and his voicing his frustration isn’t new. Every football player has complained to each other about practice and being worn out.
    My problem is that you would think a person would be smart enough to not post something like this online. Normally when players do something like this it’s an idiotic mistake or agenda driven. Neither one of these reasons are very flattering to him.

  • deuce_seven

    Players say (or Tweet or Snapchat) things that aren’t always 100% accurate.

  • FATCAT716

    Coming off of a bye? Coaching staff has been in talks with him? He said himself he could do this all day everyday? 👌 this is easy he is trolling

  • FATCAT716

    He is trolling bro.. This is what Bell does he enjoys getting everyone talking about a non issue

  • WreckIess

    There’s a reason why guys say practice is harder than the actual games. Practice just sucks, so it really shouldn’t surprise anyone if an athlete says he hates them because every athlete, at every level of competition hates practice. It’s just one of those necessary evils.

  • Mutatedgenome

    Take your medicine and shut up crybaby. Run this punk into the ground…get another trophy, then let him walk.

  • Michael James

    I’m actually pretty sure that he’s trolling all the reports that surfaced about him “being run into the ground”.
    If I remember correctly, there is hardly any tackling at all in practices during the season, especially not tackling your franchise RB.

  • Delboka

    That new view they tried on TNF blew.

    If that becomes the standard, i can no longer watch.

  • Simon Cutts

    I think player humor is lost sometimes in literal translation. Look at him he is obviously joking. We want players accessable and human then deliberately misinterpret their words. I lost count of the times I said I should have played golf or something after yet another practice repping play after play I knew backwards. Just player humor, enjoy it.

  • NinjaMountie

    I think there is an element of that in there. I also think there are elements of an agenda. Just my opinion.
    Either way, still not the smartest thing to do.

  • EdJHJr

    So practice , we are talking about practice. I mean practice, not a game but practice

  • EdJHJr

    So is it this bad for everyone. That may be a problem

  • Cormel Bovan Sr.

    You can tell he’s joking lol, basically poking fun at how the media keeps asking about his work load and if the Steelers are running him into the ground.

  • mem359

    I have a swimming background, so I always think about how these athletes handle overtraining and tapering for the big competitions. If players are giving 100% every game, that means 100% of what can be sustained over many weeks, not the peak of what could be done for one game (if they were better rested).

  • Stairway7

    Right and come payoff time the wheels fall off.

  • falconsaftey43

    I agree. that seems like all this is. He does this sort of thing

  • Stairway7

    I din’t watch but I take it’s bad. Is it just a view from behind the formation or does the camera follow the ball?

  • Av232

    They try to follow the ball, but they’re trying to follow the ball with a remote controlled camera. It’s far from perfect, closer to nauseating. The biggest annoyances to me is you can’t see flags thrown as easily, and you have no idea what the offensive formation is on the outside.

  • ThatGuy

    Lol

  • ThatGuy

    Le’Veon Bell – Master Troll.
    Apparently a few of you have never trolled/been trolled and/or don’t get sarcasm.

  • LHW

    Could be a legitimate complaint – just the wrong way to go about it.

  • SnoopDogg123

    You guys take him too seriously.

  • heath miller

    hahahahahah funny

  • heath miller

    oh

  • heath miller

    i agree he was laughing .. hes said he will take all the reps he can get all along… and then he was laughing .. alex said no and he would knowfar better than me but i also took it as being sarcastic? i see it more as a non story during a slow week HEEEEEEEEEEEEETh

  • capehouse

    Ha! Exactly.

  • capehouse

    Mountain out of a molehill.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    I wonder how many of today’s players would feel about the kinds of practices that used to have 20 years ago. Thursdays are probably the one big practice of the week to modify NFL games. Used to be a LOT worse.

    The kids today, with the hair and the yelling..

  • SteelerFanInMD

    I think Bells ‘patient’ running style allows him to carry the ball more and not get worn down. The effort is less than if he was exploding toward a hole in the line on every carry.

  • NinjaMountie

    Everyone calling this video an attempt at humor or trolling remind me of the people who claimed his rap video, wanting 15 mill, was just a rap video.

  • Brian Miller

    I definitely don’t take his rap too seriously!

  • Guest12

    Yea but this sounds a little more like a hard day of practice that he is just tired from.

  • Brian Miller

    Ahhh, that was rap? That explains a lot…

  • Guest12

    I wouldn’t be surprised if practice was a little rougher than it usually is on a Thursday because this is a trap game. We have a Thursday night game against the Titans after this game so Tomlin probably wants to make sure his guys aren’t taking this game lightly

  • StrengthOfVictory

    I imagine that all of the practices from here on (post bye week) will feel a little more “amped up,” because the team is making a late-season push. And the Steelers especially don’t want to get caught taking it easy in their first game back—not in a game they should win by double digits.

    Speaking of, if the Steelers get out to a big enough lead, I could see a bigger workload for Connor.

  • NinjaMountie

    It may well be humor. I’m just saying that his track record makes it difficult to believe that is all it is. More accurately, it makes believing it to be something other than humor easier to believe.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    True. In some ways, they’re preparing for two games instead of one.

  • Guest12

    I wouldn’t put it past him that’s for sure.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    “We talkin’ ’bout practice, man… We talkin’ ’bout practice… Not a game… Not a game… Not a game… We talking’ ’bout practice.”

  • #7

    “Tom Brady and the Patriots would never work a player this hard in practice. We’ll never beat Tom Brady and the Patriots. Season over.”

  • Burky

    I wish Alex and Steelers Depot would stop running these stories. Stick to the game. Don’t turn your website into Steelers TMZ Depot. This is a non story. He’s laughing and probably tired from practice. Anyone that’s played football has felt that way and said the same thing. Just didn’t have Twitter back in the day. These young kids today think everything is for public eyes and ears. They would be better off keeping some things private.

  • Brenton deed

    Sounds good but while mentally it may work I wonder about a 3 month campaign in practice.

  • Steelerfan4lifeinAZ

    Trust me, if you played football before you would know what he was talking about. It’s almost like saying, ” damn i hate going to work in the morning” but you do it because it’s your job. Everyone complains about practice trust me

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    This is one of those Coach T puzzlers. Let’s review:
    1. Bell couldn’t complete a half if the AFCCG last year because if a groom injury
    2. Coach Tomlin has a history of running RBs into the ground
    3. Bell is currently on pace for an outrageous number of carries, currently most in the league.
    This is a critical matter. Right now with no Bell there is no O. Sure AB and BB are capable but we saw in the he second half of last years AFCCG what can be expected without Bell.
    James Conner you say? Sure nice player but a rookie and he is no Bell (who is!?).
    I like Coach T but he has these brain farts (‘puzzlers’ I call them) that defy his otherwise logical approach. This one (running Bell into the ground ) could be fatal.

  • Alan Tman

    This is what happens when you have a Captain that doesn’t work hard, and looks to cruise at every opportunity. The rest of the team does the same. Captains have to lead by example.

  • Bill

    Are speaking of the QB?

  • Biggie

    They are just making up for all the lost reps in TC I guess. He should be well rested. The whining by some of our young guys is getting old. I will say I wish they’d run JC more in games as he is very effective when he does.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    This is the way the modern NFL (and the world in general) is these days.
    These guys don’t even think twice about posting this – and I don’t think Bell meant it to be inflammatory – and then the s**t hits the fan because someone will take it seriously (or more properly KNOW it isn’t serious but present it that way just for the ‘clicks’).
    Not aimed at THIS author
    or website BTW.
    You watch – by mid afternoon all the talking heads will be all over this s**t, especially on the KING of moronic journalism, the NFL Network!!
    I know it isn’t practical or likely but if I was a coach I would prohibit my players from social media during the season only.
    Of course, that would prob lead to a bunch of players kneeling or filing lawsuits, etc, etc.

  • KiJana Haney

    If we do the right thing and get another bye week this will be ok. I’m not surprised that the steelers probably practice as hard as game day which is why they are always strong in the fourth quarter.

  • FanInExile

    I agree you gotta go with your best when the game is undecided. Two points, though. First, this team should have locked up more of their games by early 4th quarter. That’s not on Bell, for the most part, but that would take some of the burden off. Let’s hope this offense comes to life starting with Indy. Second, I have a nagging feeling we’re going to be riding Connor as the feature back when the playoffs come, and not by choice. The only consolation I’m taking from Bell’s workload, aside from the good results so far, is that he didn’t take any hits (football hits, that is) during the preseason, so even though he wouldn’t have taken many of those anyway, there’s that.

  • Jeff McNeill

    Do you know he has not taken it to the coaches?

  • #7

    Agreed. Captains should all be like Tom Brady of the Patriots

  • westcoasteeler

    Lol. Trust me that you don’t have to have played football before to understand Steeler practices are more detrimental to your body than say a movie set. Most of the time it’s the expensive brats who complain the most.

  • mem359

    Not saying they should do overtraining and tapering. Just pointing out that too much of a workout during the week can lower what can be sustained on game day.

  • William Weaver

    I would give Conner 15 carries this week. That will quiet him down. Lol if Conner can be trusted in pass pro they need to work him in there anyway

  • popsiclesticks

    DeAngelo ran well when the entire offense was humming. But in games like the Buffalo game where it wasn’t, that’s when you can tell just how good Bell is.

  • popsiclesticks

    I think it’s just that. He’s probably making his own version of American Vandal.

  • Steeler Nation!

    That Buffalo game proved how dominant our O line was. Bell is good, but he didn’t do anything different than what man you other backs could’ve done behind that o line play. EXCEPT for the hurdle, which had to be good for that groin.

  • Conserv_58

    Le’Veon should be thankful that he’s not wearing a military uniform and stationed in Afghanistan.

  • Conserv_58

    I don’t remember Bell even playing one snap in the AFCCG?

  • Conserv_58

    Tomlin said last season that he’s going to run the wheels off of him. Nothing has changed.

  • Bradys_Dad

    I really wish, let’s call it an early Christmas present, that the players on this team would simply shut up when the media is lurking about. Depending on the outlet, every flip comment or moment of stupidity that emanates from a player’s mouth is turned in to the next big drama. Stop it. Just stop it. If you can fit that in my stocking that ‘d be great but a gift wrapped box is always fun too. Thank you and Happy Holidays.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Six carries 20 yds (3.33 yds per). I think he went out like mid-1st qtr or so. BIG loss as I saw his running as a tool to control TOP and keep Brady on the sidelines.

  • NCSteel

    Keep on truckin’ brother.
    Hoping for another 400-500 touches next year too.
    Ha ha ha ha !
    Keep on keepin’ on !!

  • Ryan Alderman

    Could you imagine Joe Greene saying something like that? Yeah, me either.

  • MC

    Yeah that’s the biggest reason why i want this team to score to their potential is so other guys can be subbed in. I don’t think Bell has taken that many big hits this year but all it takes is one bad tackle like Burficts sideline tackle that blew his knee out. If this team scores more it means less carries for Bell later in games and less chance of injury. Just like in basketball, when a team is 20 up in the fourth they get their starters out of there. Plus i want Connor to get more experience as i think he can be a great contributor with his running style.

  • Ryan Alderman

    I feel bad that he had to practice so hard today…truly.

  • Woodsworld

    The body can only take so much, and his work is far more physically demanding than what most of us do. Its a bad idea to just run a star running back into the ground, instead I’d like to see more accurate passing on the deep ball by Ben, and getting all of his receivers involved. At least Martavis, which much of this is on Haley and Ben. It takes a far more simplistic scheme to just run Le’Veon into the ground, but coming up with a balance, sophisticated offense takes smarts. This is the reason why we haven’t gotten past the Patriots….they’ve just played a more sophisticated offense than we.

  • Alan Sides

    He shouldn’t complain. What was he doing during the preseason??

  • Rob

    The funniest part..today on Bell’s snap, AL was joking with him and was like “LeVeon practice is so easy for us, we just walk through and do nothing” haha these guys are as close knit as it gets

  • Alan Tman

    Yes, not worried about mechanics or footwork, and takes the bye week off when our offense has not really looked how it should this ,and the coaches have made the excuse that it’s because of all the new receivers. Look at the video Tom Brady reacts to Jimmy Garoppollo trade to the 49ers. I don’t believe that a player that is not working as hard as they can to be all that they could be should be put in a position to call out other players. That my friend is hypocrisy.

  • Ryan Alderman

    No kidding.