Running back Le'Veon Bell, the Steelers' second round draft choice this year, was selected as the "Joe Greene Great Performance Award" winner by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America. The award is given annually to the team's outstanding rookie.
"It means a lot to win this," said Bell. "It's a great award. I couldn't have done it without my teammates, with the help of the offensive linemen and coaches. I am thankful for it. Hopefully I will continue to get better.
"And to win the award named after Joe Greene means everything to me. Meeting him was great, and winning an award named after him is the icing on the cake."
Bell's season got off to a slow start, inactive for the first three games of the year with an ankle injury suffered during the preseason.
When he returned to action he was put in the starting lineup and has been a staple there ever since.
"I feel like I have had a pretty good year," said Bell. "I am still getting better every week. That is what I wanted to do, continue to get better each and every week. I feel like I am doing that and as long as I continue to go in that direction I will be the player I want to be one day."
Bell has rushed for 770 yards in 12 starts with seven touchdowns, and added 393 yards receiving.
In his first NFL game Bell rushed for 57 yards against the Minnesota Vikings in London, and scored two touchdowns, becoming the first rookie to rush for two touchdowns in a game since Bam Morris in 1994.
"From week four until now I am a much smarter player," said Bell. "I know so much more than when I was first in there. It's helped me physically too."
Bell rushed for 93 yards against Baltimore on Oct. 20, and had a career-high 65 receiving yards vs. New England on Nov. 3. Bell had 107 yards from scrimmage on Dec. 15 against Cincinnati, carrying the ball 24 times for 57 yards and adding five receptions for 50 yards. That game put him over the 1,000 yard mark in yards from scrimmage, becoming just the third rookie in team history to do so.
He saved his best performance for this past week against the Green Bay Packers with 124 yards rushing and a touchdown, his first 100-yard rushing game.
"I was looking forward to that game," said Bell. "That is a prestigious stadium. I was glad to have a good game and come out with a win. That was the most important thing."
"Joe Greene Great Performance Award" Winners:
|1984||WR Louis Lipps||1999||WR Troy Edwards|
|1985||P Harry Newsome||2000||FB Dan Kreider|
|1986||LB Anthony Henton||2001||LB Kendrell Bell|
|1987||CB Delton Hall||2002||OG Kendall Simmons|
|1988||RB Warren Williams||2003||S Troy Polamalu|
|1989||SS Carnell Lake||2004||QB Ben Roethlisberger|
|1990||TE Eric Green||2005||TE Heath Miller|
|1991||TE Adrian Cooper||2006||WR Santonio Holmes|
|1992||FS Darren Perry||2007||P Daniel Sepulveda|
|1993||LB Chad Brown||2008||LB Patrick Bailey|
|1994||RB Bam Morris||2009||WR Mike Wallace|
|1995||QB Kordell Stewart||2010||C Maurkice Pouncey|
|1996||FB Jon Witman||2011||OT Marcus Gilbert|
|1997||CB Chad Scott||2012|
OT Mike Adams