Ben Roethlisberger: “Distraction” of Le’Veon Bell hurt the Steelers

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The Steelers replaced Le'Veon Bell‘s yardage.

That’s not the same as replacing Le’Veon Bell.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said the “distraction” of their franchise-tagged running back never showing up clearly hurt the team this year, as they missed the playoffs by a half-game.

“It hurts you when you don’t have one of the better players in the game,” Roethlisberger said during his appearance on 93.7 The Fan. “But I think the biggest thing that hurts us was that it was a distraction. At his position we got to see James Conner and Jaylen Samuels, and I thought we got to see guys come into their own and see a glimpse of the future. I was really encouraged about life without Le’Veon.”

Conner and Samuels combined for 1,229 rushing yards, 696 receiving yards, and 16 touchdowns this year.

In 2017, Bell had 1,291 rushing yards, 655 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns.

Of course, the bigger problem for the Steelers wasn’t any dip in production, but the $14.5 million they had budgeted for Bell that was never spent to improve the team. When you consider how narrow the margin was for them in missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013, it’s clear they could have used a player or five which could have been acquired with that money.

37 responses to “Ben Roethlisberger: “Distraction” of Le’Veon Bell hurt the Steelers

  1. Well his teammates should of kept their mouths shut then. IThe moment they publicly spoke out about him trying to guilt trip him into signing, even though they don’t pay his bills, they sealed the deal. Be mad at your own team, Ben.

    Also as an aside: Shannon Sharpe said it best – the Steeler’s players are a fine example of why NFL players overall don’t have guaranteed contracts. They’ll attack each other before the owners ever have to worry about them uniting.

  2. The first 10 games of the season with daily speculation on whether bell would report : 7-2-1.
    The last 6 games after there was no speculation : 1-5.

    The Bell speculation was the only thing holding this team together and their rushing output was roughly the same as it was with Bell.

    Whether Bell wins or loses on his next contract, it showed that the Steelers investment in Bell was unwise and that the offensive line is the real star.

  3. It also hurts the Steelers that they have one of the top WR’s who is a selfish player who only cares about his stats and not the team.

  4. wow. this guy will blame everything and everyone else but himself. he directly caused at least three losses himself with subpar play at the end of a game. therein lies the true pittsburgh problem.

  5. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.

    I distinctly remember the interview earlier where Ben and any Steeler that could get in front of a mic said this locker room was too STRONG to allow this as a distraction.

    You’re the QB, it’s your job to hold it together. But because you are also a “me first” guy, that can’t happen.

  6. Not a big fan of Ben, yep he puts up numbers, and he is just not reliable. There is always an excuse within arms reach and always a reason beyond him for any break in performance. He is the culture of the Steeler.

  7. Whhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    Always with excuses. The refs screwed us!!
    Next man up dude like lots of teams deal with it.

  8. One guy throws a tantrum about his paycheck and the whole team loses focus? Not buying it, nice try there Ben. Only way that becomes a distraction is if you let it. I assume trashing Bell became accepted practice around the Steelers locker room.

  9. I don’t buy it. This wasn’t the Dallas Cowboys starting 0-2 without Emmit Smith. This team was hot, out of the gate. By midseason, Bell was an afterthought.

  10. Because the team let it be a distraction. You all had to voice your opinion about his hold up and everyone wanted a piece of the media. Can’t even credit him for being a top player properly – “one of better players”. Really? Bell is Diva? Yes.. Top player? Yes..

  11. Of course, the bigger problem for the Steelers wasn’t any dip in production, but the $14.5 million they had budgeted for Bell that was never spent to improve the team. When you consider how narrow the margin was for them in missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013, it’s clear they could have used a player or five which could have been acquired with that money

    —–

    that’s the game you play when you put the franchise tag on a player for the second time.

    seems like in the end, it just becomes a lose-lose situation.

  12. Ben caused a few distractions of his own, along with his buddy, AB. There’s no denying that the whole Bell situation was a distraction, but Ben can’t seriously put the whole failure on Bell. He and AB had their own share of negative headlines, along with their head coach…but it’s so typical of him to point the finger at anyone but himself.

  13. yes, the classical “distraction”. Ben, your losing streak started near the end of November, a full 10-11 weeks to fight off the “distraction”.

  14. Silver linings playbook volume 1 2019:
    They have the Bell 2018 15m rolling over, plus 15m they’ll “save” by not replacing him because of rookie contracts for Conner/Samuels, who proved themselves, the 8.5 they won’t have pay Shazier and rhe salary cap is going up. Steelers in best cap space in s long time.

  15. Le’Veon Bell aside, the Steelers losing 4 of 5 games with questionable play calling, turnovers, missed field goals, and a defense not holding onto leads, was a big distraction to a team LOADED with talent.

  16. Distractions in Pittsburgh seem to be “de rigeur”.
    A loaded team able to sometimes beat the best and stub their toe on the worst.
    Would seem prudent to hire a sports psychologist whose speciality is focus as the coaching staff doesn’t seem very adept at it.

  17. I may be mistaken but I don’t recall other teams QBs mouthing off in the press like this. How hard is it to not make comments like this if you are a team leader.

  18. I do ascribe the 1-2-1 start to the distraction. He did tell several teammates he’d be there week 1 regardless and they carried the water for him. The whole AB mess week 17 had to be a distraction for the offense who witnessed the hissy fit AN had when he heard JuJu was voted MVP by teammates. Can you imagine if they had lost to Cindy and the Ravens had lost. Both came close to happening.

  19. tomthebombtracy says:
    January 2, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Silver linings playbook volume 1 2019:

    They have the Bell 2018 15m rolling over, plus 15m they’ll “save” by not replacing him because of rookie contracts for Conner/Samuels, who proved themselves, the 8.5 they won’t have pay Shazier and rhe salary cap is going up. Steelers in best cap space in s long time.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Except Antonio Brown’s cap hit jumps from $7 million to $22 million…No team that pays a WR that much money is successful…NONE!!!

  20. Too much jawing coming out of this franchise right now. Tomlin is a solid coach but he appears to be losing control of this group. Change personnel or HC. One or the other has to happen at this point.

  21. The media asking if Bell was coming back every damn day was the distraction. Other than Ben and Brown ucking it up every game.

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