For the most part, the 2014 NFL season was a positive one for Pittsburgh Steelers' Le'Veon Bell as the running back broke out in style with 2,215 combined yards and 11 touchdowns.
His emergence as an elite star, though, was tempered by a late season knee injury that required surgery, as well as an NFL suspension for marijuana possession that will rule him out of the first three games of the upcoming campaign.
While the suspension gives Bell extra time to recover from the knee injury that put pay to his (and effectively the Steelers') 2014 postseason, fans have been nervous to discover how his recover has been going. The star offered a hugely positive update after taking part in team OTAs this week.
"I am feeling good. I am feeling as good as I can remember," Bell told the Pittsburgh Steelers' official website today. "Week 17 last year was a scary moment when I hurt my knee."
"My knee is now close to 100 percent. I am excited about my progress and how my body has been holding up after all the carries I got last year and I am ready to go."
Even though the season is still a few months away the fact that Bell is speaking so positively regarding his fitness levels will be a big boost to those at the Pittsburgh franchise. Indeed, going as far as to say it is feeling better than ever will give hope that another stunning season of production could be on the cards.
Before going down injured in the final game of the regular season, Le'Veon Bell hadn't missed a fixture in 2014 and had taken on the bell cow role for the team.
Even if he recovers to 100 percent in plenty of time for the Steelers 2015 opener against the New England Patriots, however, there is little to no chance that he lines up in the back field.
Thanks to a delayed suspension relating to a marijuana possession charge from August 2014 Bell is currently sitting on a three game ban.
He is busy appealing that suspension but at present it looks like, no matter how much Pittsburgh fans want to see a fully healthy Le"Veon Bell reeking havoc all season long, they will have to make do with new recruit DeAngelo Williams for the early part of the campaign.
At least if the ban is not reduced their star man will have even longer to recuperate. By the sounds of it, though, he wants to get back on the gridiron ASAP.
Is Le'Veon Bell now amongst the top three running backs in the NFL? Have your say in the comments below...
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