Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



A bunch of fanboys still want Le’Veon Bell to report to the Steelers. (That includes lots of fanboys in the media.) “How can you not want Bell back?”

When you say that (usually in a voice approximating a screech), you are not believing what you are seeing.

James Conner is doing much better this season than Bell did last season. It’s happening. You see it. But you don’t believe it.

Then you got nimrods who say, “The Steelers should have paid Bell what he wanted!” (That includes a lot of ex-player nimrods.)

When you say that, you ignore that Conner is doing better than Bell did last season, and doing it for four percent of what Bell was scheduled to make. FOUR PERCENT.

How can anyone possibly say that giving Todd Gurley money to Bell would have been a better piece of business?

These are numbers. These are facts.

That’s not even considering less precise factors, like Bell having missed two training camps, his conditioning, and his investment in the Steelers and their season.

The numbers and facts are beyond debate. They are right there in plain sight. Yet some are choosing not to see them.

Conner is on pace for 360 touches. That’s a ton. Should his workload be lessened? Guard Ramon Foster spoke to that: “Conner is a workhorse right now, but he’s going to need his breaks.”


If Conner’s rise in Bell’s absence has proven one thing, it’s that there are a lot more running backs like that out there if/when Conner’s wheels fall off.

That doesn’t mean the Steelers shouldn’t be prudent, especially right now in light of their questionable quality at RB behind Conner.

It does mean that running backs are easily replaced. That’s exemplified by Conner, and fairly obvious throughout the NFL.

Photo courtesy of GettyImages

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