Mike Tomlin downplayed Le'Veon Bell's hamstring injury that forced him off the practice field Sunday, but it carried a sense of déjà vu with the second-year running back.
Bell left the practice field at Saint Vincent College last Aug. 3 with a bruised knee and missed the first preseason game. He played in the second but then left with a sprained foot that wiped out the rest of the preseason for him along with the first three games of the regular season.
The last thing the Steelers young but potentially exciting offense needs is to lose their Bell cow, a running back they plan to build all kinds of things around, including the no-huddle offense. It took just two practices without pads for Bell to leave this time. He walked off without limping along with a trainer to the locker room in the middle of practice Sunday.
"Tightness in the hamstring," Tomlin called it. "We'll get that evaluated."
It took Bell several games to get into the flow after he returned last season for the fourth game, but once he did, he was dynamic. His 1,259 yards combined rushing and receiving were the most by a Steelers rookie running back. His 45 receptions were the most by a Steelers back in 19 years.
Bumps and bruises
Tomlin outlined a few other minor injuries and confirmed a major one: Offensive lineman David Snow has a broken foot that will require surgery.
Rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant has a groin injury and rookie wide receiver C.J. Goodwin of California University of Pennsylvania has a shoulder injury.
"Don't know how much time those guys will miss, if any," Tomlin said of what he called the bumps-and-bruises injuries, including Bell's. "Just kind of necessary things that go along with this time of year."
Talking about tackles
The pads come on and the hitting starts today.
"It's football," Tomlin said. "I know that there's going to be a lot of people excited about doing that. I'm always excited about who ascends in those situations and who shrinks in those situations and that's just the reality of it. It's a big step in the process, one that I'm sure we're all excited about taking."
Tomlin laughed when he was asked if actual tackling will occur. "Yes. You guys always amaze me," he told the media. "Tackling is an element of football. It's like it's a special treat. Tackling? Yes, tackling. We're going to wear helmets and shoulder pads, too."
Practice was cut short because of a thunderstorm. ... Guard Ramon Foster will join his teammates today after missing the start of camp because of his mother's sudden death. ... Practice today starts at 3 p.m.
First Published July 27, 2014 12:00 AM