Pittsburgh Steelers' running back James Conner powered the team to a crucial 28-21 victory over the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, moving their record to 3-2-1 on the season.
Conner finished the game with 19 carries for 111 yards and two rushing touchdowns, and he added four catches for 18 yards. That caught the attention of teammate Le'Veon Bell, whom Conner has filled in nicely for amid a tense holdout situation.
damn james 💪🏾— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) October 14, 2018
And Conner replied with this very classy and professional tweet:
💪🏾💪🏾 been watchin L Bell tape ! https://t.co/Ha9ccFv48k— James Conner (@JamesConner_) October 14, 2018
The Steelers have rebounded nicely following a sloppy 1-2-1 start to the season. They now head into their bye and could have Bell back for their Week 8 home contest against the Cleveland Browns.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday that though Bell was planning to rejoin the team for their next game against the Browns, "team officials and players have not heard anything from" Bell. That gives the Pro Bowler two weeks to contact his team, otherwise his anticipated return could drag on even longer.
Bell rejected a five-year, $70 million contract extension from the Steelers earlier this summer, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Bell vowed to sign his franchise tender to join the team for the start of 2018, but that obviously didn't come to fruition.
As Schefter outlined, Bell has held out as he tries to stay healthy in order to get set up for a long-term contract in the offseason. If he returns between the 15th and 22nd of this month, Bell could get paid for this week, per Schefter. Thus, that gives him another reason to end the holdout and return to theteam.
Pittsburgh got off to a slow start, and Bell's absence was cited as a key reason why. But Conner has done an excellent job filling in for Bell, and the offense remains as efficient as ever before. Whether or not Bell wants to be part of this unit moving forward remains to be seen.