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Le'Veon Bell still says Bengals were out to injure him


Le'Veon Bell is back.

The Steelers' Pro Bowl running back took part in portions of organized team activities Tuesday. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune, Bell did individual drills, but did not work during 11-on-11 portions of practice available for viewing by the media.

"They're just trying to protect me from myself," he said, adding that he was cleared medically. Bell tore his right MCL in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in November.

The Bengals played a key role in Bell's meeting with the media this week, especially because the dynamic running back thinks his injury was not a coincidence. Vontaze Burfict was the main culprit, bringing Bell to the turf for the last time in 2015.

"I don't think it was just (Burfict); it was like the whole team was really out there trying to like twist my ankles and do little dirty stuff in between the piles," Bell said.

He also added: "I feel like there's a lot of teams that do that, try to take me out of the game."

Bell said Burfict reached out to him during the offseason and said that he was happy to see Bell running again. It was a far cry from that November afternoon where, to many Steelers players, it seemed like the linebacker was celebrating the injury. Burfict ran to midfield to cheer with a fellow defensive player while Bell was being attended to medically.

Obviously, it was more gunpowder for the eventual explosion that took place between the Steelers and Bengals during the playoffs. The Bengals, for their part, have categorically denied any wrongdoing, especially when it comes to Bell's injury.

It raises some interesting questions for Bell, and many star running backs of his caliber. To a fan, a running back sliding is abhorrent, but expected for a franchise-caliber quarterback. But doesn't Bell's value transcend the extra yard or two he might gain by throwing his shoulders down at the end of a long run?

"I'm still going to be physical; I just know that when I'm on the sidelines I can't expect somebody to just push me out of bounds, you know?" Bell said via the Tribune. "I can't take nothing for granted. I have to really protect myself -- either get out of bounds or continue to finish the play."