Nobody can know if a healthy Le’Veon Bell would have tipped the balance of the scales in Pittsburgh’s favor Sunday night against the New England Patriots. What we do know is that not having him on the field certainly made life more difficult for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who ultimately fell in a 19-point blowout loss.
Bell said after the game was dealing with a groin injury for a while but hid his condition from his team.
Le’Veon Bell said he’s been battling a groin issue for a while but didn’t say anything. Flared up tonight.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 23, 2017
It is hard to imagine that nobody on Pittsburgh’s coaching staff or medical team had knowledge about Bell’s injury. Especially being that it was a groin issue. Either he’s a tremendous actor, people weren’t paying any attention or the Steelers knew about the injury and failed to disclose it.
Bell didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, though his absence was supposedly not due to injury. He also missed practice Wednesday before the team’s Divisional Round matchup against the Miami Dolphins, and it seems hard to imagine he never went to the trainer’s table to get his injury treated.
If the NFL has any interest in investigating Pittsburgh’s failure to report Bell’s groin injury, it would be a simple thing to see if he did get any treatment for the issue. Otherwise, it’s likely a non-starter, simply because it’s not like Mike Tomlin came out and said Bell’s been dealing with an injury like Pete Carroll did regarding Richard Sherman — something that could cost the Seattle Seahawks draft currency in the end.
On a side note, it’s pretty amazing that Bell did what he did in the first two rounds of the playoffs dealing with a groin injury. He rushed for 337 yards during those two games, scoring twice in the Wild Card Round.