National Football League investigating injury status of Steelers' Bell before AFC game

Le'Veon Bell

The Pittsburgh Steelers played the majority of the AFC Championship against the Patriots without running back Le'Veon Bell due to injury. This is notable because Pittsburgh didn't list him on the injury report in the days leading up to the contest.

Then head coach Mike Tomlin told the media in his end-of-season presser that he knew of the injury but didn't think it needed to be on the injury report (more on that here).

While Tomlin was at pains to point out Bell had not missed any playing time as a effect of the injury and denied it impacted the way he prepared, there are some who will see it as an infraction of the rules as it pertains to reporting injuries.

The NFL also is looking into whether the Seahawks violated the injury policy by failing to list an injury to Richard Sherman.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that Tomlin said Bell's absence on January 19 was excused.

Last week, Bell sat out Wednesday's practice and he was listed on the team's daily report as not being injury related.

Again, those missed practices were technically said to be not related to an injury, and that may be the case. "It's unfortunate that it became an issue in game".

The Steelers will argue the injury did not adversely affect Bell in previous weeks when he rushed for 167 and 170 yards against the Dolphins and Chiefs, both franchise records. "But it wasn't something that was on our radar from that perspective". But the National Football League is at least a bit concerned about the pattern of missed practices, the way his name never showed up on the report, and the fact that he was too injured to play during the AFC title game.

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