James Conner has earned starting job, even if Bell comes back

James Conner practicing for his starting job at running back

James Conner practicing for his starting job at running back

Matthew Szymanowski, Deputy Sports Editor

If Bell comes back, who should be the starting running back?

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The Steelers are now six games into the regular season and hold a record of 3-2-1, only a half game out of first place in the AFC East. One of their key offensive pieces is still yet to be seen or heard from: Le’Veon Bell. Bell, the 26-year-old out of Michigan State, has still decided not to be a part of the Steelers.

Last season, Bell wanted a multi-year contract, something the Steelers would not offer. Instead, they franchise tagged him, giving him a one ]-year deal worth $12 million. This season, Bell and the Steelers could not come to an agreement again. He decided he would not take an offer unless it was long term, and the Steelers could not offer it. So, Bell decided that he would not join the team unless he would get his contract.

Enter James Conner. The 3rd-round pick of last season’s draft out of the University of Pittsburgh was the backup to Bell last season. When Bell decided to hold out, Conner was named the starting running back.

Conner took advantage of this opportunity. He had an amazing first game in Cleveland, getting 31 rushes for 135 yards, five catches for 57 yards, and two touchdowns in the 21-21 tie.

The next three games, he did not get as many carries or receiving chances, only gaining 97 yards on the ground, 107 yards receiving, and one touchdown in total. In those games, though, the Steelers were 1-2.

The past two games, head Coach Tomlin has been trusting Conner more. He had 40 rushes the last two games, totalling in 221 yards. He also had 93 receiving yards and four touchdowns in those games. The Steelers won both of those games.

The NFL tender deadline is Week 10. If Bell wants any money this season, he has to be on the team by Week 11. It is unclear now what the Steelers at the running back position will do when Bell eventually comes back. All Bell has done this season is bring controversy to the players, the fans, and the organization. Conner, on the other hand, is putting up great numbers and is already a fan-favorite.

In my opinion, when Bell comes back, they should sit him on the bench. Conner is proving that he is a pro running back, and the Steelers can win with him.

Who do you think they should start?

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