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Steelers leaving 'light on' for Le'Veon Bell playing

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The Pittsburgh Steelers could be without stud running back Le'Veon Bell for Saturday's Wild Card game against rival Baltimore Ravens.

Mike Tomlin told reporters Tuesday that he wouldn't rule out Bell, who suffered a hyperextended right knee in Sunday's AFC North-clinching win. However, the coach said the Steelers would prepare as if they won't have the running back available.

"Obviously we'll be watching closely the Le'Veon Bell... I don't know whether or not he'll be available," he said, per NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala. "... we're going to leave the light on."

The coach said that Bell will only play if he can protect himself and that there is a chance the Steelers still sit Bell even if he's medically cleared. 

Tomlin added that there are no excuses against the Ravens if Bell isn't able to play, because "we have a legitimate time to prepare."

The coach added that if Bell isn't able to go it's not an end-all: "There have been games where we did not have a significant contribution from him."

In Pittsburgh's Week 9, 43-23 victory over Baltimore, Bell had just 23 yards rushing on 10 carries and 38 yards on five receptions. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 340 yards in that contest.

Still, without Bell's services the Steelers would be stripped of the most dynamic dual-threat running backs in the NFL.

Replacing Bell's production would be a daunting task.

"Josh Harris is at the top of the list," Tomlin said of the backfield rotation. But added, "we're also not opposed to going outside the box."

The coach acknowledged that Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings castoff Ben Tate was in the building. Soon after, the Steelers announced the signing of Tate.

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