PITTSBURGH: As expected, Le’Veon Bell reported to the first day of the Steelers’ mandatory three-day minicamp on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila). The running back, coming off a major knee injury, even participated in individual drills on the South Side.
What wasn’t expected was that Bell would be answering questions not about his health, but rather an internet rumor of a missed drug test that started circulating late Tuesday afternoon as the Steelers were on the practice field.
Bell categorically denied failing or missing any test which would have earned him further league discipline. The 24-year-old is a regular presence on social media and has even began dabbling on a musical career. Bell says he’s learned to put aside things he hears or reads about himself on the internet.
“I just try to fade everything out,” Bell said. ‘If I do see something that may upset me I try to not respond or things like that. Obviously, you see some things on the internet where I might respond because I see it on Twitter or Instagram. I don’t let it really get to me deeply or let it phase me because I know what type of person I am. I know I’m a good person.”
The NFL suspended Bell for the first four games of the 2015 season for his marijuana possession arrest in August of 2014. He then missed the final 10 games of the season, playoffs included, after suffering a torn MCL in Week 8 against Cincinnati.
Bell, who averaged 92.7 rushing yards in six games in 2015, is not expected to be cleared fully for a return to football until the start of training camp, beginning July 28.
While Mike Tomlin was obviously delighted to have Bell back — he took the field for just the first day of 10 OTAs — the Steelers’ coach is practicing patience with the 2014 All-Pro.
“I really didn’t look at him,” said Tomlin. “We didn’t put him in any competitive circumstances. From a rehabilitation standpoint, it’s going well. Some things we have to save for Latrobe.”