Running back Le'Veon Bell had every intention of playing in this Sunday's Pro Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. He said he would be there the day after the Steelers season ended, and up until two days ago that was still his plan.
The top photos of RB Le'Veon Bell who was voted as the Steelers'2014 MVP by his teammates.
But the best laid plans often go astray, and that is the case for Bell, who was replaced in the game by Denver's C.J. Anderson. While Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey and Lawrence Timmons will still represent the Steelers, Bell will let the knee he hyper-extended against the Cincinnati Bengals in the Steelers regular season finale on Dec. 28 rest a little bit longer.
Bell missed the AFC Wild Card game against the Baltimore Ravens on January 3 at Heinz Field because of the knee, a game where his presence was missed in a 31-17 loss. He said it was so tough to watch, the toughest game he has ever experienced. "
That was definitely the worst game ever for me," said Bell. "Last year when I got hurt I missed the first three games of my rookie year. It was big because it was my first three games, but it wasn't as big as this game.
"This was the first time in the playoffs after missing them for two years. I wanted to be out there because you lose, you go home. It was frustrating not being out there making plays for my team, watching and I couldn't do anything about it."
Bell said he was close to being able to play, and another week could have made a huge difference, but he wasn't close enough for the team to risk him suffering further injury.
"If I was able to run a little bit, I would have played. I couldn't run," said Bell. "If I was about 60 percent I would have played. I couldn't run straight. It took me a minute to get up to speed. I didn't have acceleration. I could cut, once I got rolling I could run, but I couldn't stop and start. As a running back that's what you have to be able to do, you have to be able to stop and start. I couldn't do that so I wasn't able to play."
Bell admits the knee is night and day from where it was a few weeks ago, and that makes it harder dealing with missing his first shot at the NFL playoffs.
"I feel great now. It makes it almost worse that I feel that way now and not sooner," said Bell. "I knew if we would have won I would have played the next week. I was still thinking about playing in that Wild Card game, but once Coach (Mike) Tomlin ruled me out, I was out."