Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



The James Conner/Le'Veon Bell narrative resembles a story arc in pro wrestling.

Now the Steelers are starting to turn on Bell.

When Coach Mike Tomlin said, "We need volunteers, not hostages," that was a clear shot at Bell.

Then LT Alejandro Villanueva said, "I love playing with Conner. I don't have anything to say about Le'Veon. I don't even know what shape he is in right now."

PR-wise, Bell is in awful shape.

Bell thought he'd create demand in free agency by creating demand with the Steelers.

But Conner double-crossed him by being great.

Bell figured he'd be treated like a conquering hero upon returning.

That's not happening, if and when Bell rejoins the Steelers.

The locker room would be lukewarm at best.

The fans would be skeptical, and would descend like vultures if Bell and/or the Steelers struggled.

Conner has not only excelled, he showed up. In Pittsburgh, you've got to go to work.

It is logically impossible to think the Steelers would benefit by Bell usurping even a fraction of Conner's role.

It's Conner's job now.

I never saw that coming. But it happened.

Spare me the horse manure about using Bell in the slot. The offense is doing everything it needs to do.

Bell is old news. The Conner era has started.

This is why you don't pay running backs big money. You don't need to be a blue-chipper to succeed. All you need is the right circumstance - and, in this case, the NFL's best offensive line.

Bell can benefit the Steelers most by staying home. Unless Conner gets injured.

Photo courtesy of GettyImages

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