Pittsburgh Steelers: Is Playing Le’Veon Bell In Week 14 A Risky Move?

By Clyde A. Speller
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone who watched the Thanksgiving night game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens witnessed a gruesome sight in the final minutes of the game. Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell seemed to be knocked out momentarily while attempting to score on the goal line after receiving a blow from Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith.

Thankfully, Bell got to his feet and walked to the locker room with the help of Pittsburgh’s training staff. Since the hit, the Steelers’ leading rusher has been diagnosed with a concussion, and is surprisingly on pace to return to the field this coming Sunday to face the Miami Dolphins.

ESPN’s Scott Brown tweeted the possibility of this happening Tuesday afternoon.

After seeing such a collision, most would think that sidelining Bell would be the obvious thing to do. Furthermore, hearing the comments he told the Steelers’ official website regarding his concussion would give more reason to believe that Bell shouldn’t play in Week 14.

“I don’t remember the exact play,” said Bell. “I didn’t remember it when it first happened. Once I came off the field I didn’t really know I had scored. Then they told me I did; then they told me it wasn’t a touchdown. I wasn’t aware of what was going on at the time because I got hit. I can’t really remember what happened.”

Even after Bell’s explanation of Thursday night’s hit, he feels that he’s making steady progress.

I personally feel that putting Bell on the shelf for a week would benefit him in the long run, because concussions are a serious matter. However, according to what Dr. Stan Herring stated on the NFL’s 2013 Protocol for Players with Concussions on nfl.com, every player reacts to concussions differently.

“The thing that I think is important here is you don’t manage concussions by a calendar,” Dr. Herring said. “Some guys may come back in a week. Some guys may come back in six weeks. These steps don’t have an expiration date on them. The player’s history of injury and other issues come into play.”

So, seeing Bell suit up this Sunday wouldn’t be a big surprise. Actually, the fact that Bell doesn’t have a history of concussions works in his favor. Furthermore, having Bell in the lineup in Week 14 will benefit Pittsburgh, who has a very slim margin for error in trying to advance to the postseason.

Apparently, there is a double-edged sword here. On one hand, Bell’s health could potentially be at risk if he plays. On the other hand, the Steelers’ chances of making the playoffs could go completely down the drain if Bell doesn’t play. The choice of whether the second-round draft pick should play could have negative ramifications either way. We can only wait and see what that decision will be and how things will play out.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+

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