PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he knew Le'Veon Bell was "special" and not just because of what the running back has done through the first three weeks of the season.
Bell leads the NFL with 461 yards from scrimmage and his 5.9 yards per carry is tops among players with more than 30 totes.
And, said Roethlisberger, "I think the thing that gets overlooked sometimes, not from us, is his pass blocking. He does such a good job of picking up blitzes. Even if a linebacker is blitzing (and) has a 6-yard head start, he’s not going to get out of the way or cut him. He’s going to stick in there and do his job because he knows how important it is."
Bell’s all-around play has made him the talk of the NFL, and Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith knows containing the Michigan State product on Sunday will be one of the keys to the 0-3 Buccaneers springing an upset at Heinz Field.
"I don’t use special very often, but I think you could use that with him and his play," Smith said of Bell. "He has good size but he has quick feet. He has the feet of a small back, can make you miss in the open field, can run in between the tackles and has good hands. He’s as good a back I think as there is in the league."
Former NFL great LaDainian Tomlinson said essentially the same thing this week on the NFL Network.
Tomlinson, who is fifth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list, said there is not a running back he would take over Bell right now.
"It’s an honor to have a guy like LaDainian Tomlinson say something like that, because growing up that’s who I used to watch and I looked at him as the best running back in the NFL," Bell said. "It is really just humbling and I’m just glad to have that said from him, a guy who is a future Hall of Famer. It means the world to me."