Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell missed a significant portion of his team’s loss in the AFC Championship Game and that isn’t the only potential negative for the franchise. On Tuesday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was prompted about Bell’s groin injury and was candid in stating that it wasn’t a new ailment.
“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 something to manage. When you look at the journey that is the season, I think just about every guy down there is dealing with and managing something in an effort to stay on the grass.
“I was aware of it. It wasn’t significant to the point where it affected planning or the anticipation of planning in any way. It’s unfortunate that it became an issue in game.”
While this seems harmless, it has to be noted that Bell was not listed on Pittsburgh’s injury report and that is a no-no. The NFL is reportedly looking into a similar issue with the Seattle Seahawks and Richard Sherman and they could crack down on the Steelers for not disclosing Bell’s ailment.
Per Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, there is some reason to believe the league would have grounds:
The injury report policy specifically requires the disclosure of only “significant or noteworthy injuries” on the Practice Report. So the argument from the Steelers would be that, because Bell’s injury was not “significant,” it didn’t need to be disclosed.
Here’s the problem with that argument. Bell had been missing practice time. Each of the three Wednesdays before the team’s playoff games, Bell didn’t practice. Last Thursday, he missed practice for “personal reasons.”
At this stage, nothing is official in terms of punishment for Tomlin and the Steelers but this could add insult to injury (pun intended) when it comes to what was already a devastating loss. Stay tuned.