Tuesday on the "R&B Podcast" with NFL Media analysts Mike Robinson and Nate Burleson, Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell dismissed the idea that the Steelers' offense would take a step back in 2016.
"I think the sky is the limit for our offense, regardless," Bell said. "I look back when I watched last year, I didn't play and the offense it still didn't matter. The times when Ben (Roethlisberger) was out and (Michael) Vick came in, we still came in and moved the ball. When I came out, DeAngelo (Williams) came in. We have guys, we have depth and I think the fact that we have all of that depth and we have playmakers everywhere, I think our offense is still going to be just as dynamic. Obviously, Martavis would make it a lot easier but we still have that next man up (mentality) and that's the kind of things we've been doing."
The next man up is Markus Wheaton, who finally developed as a No. 3 receiver last season and will be asked to play a bigger role. Darrius Heyward-Bey should be bumped up the depth chart. The biggest wildcard is 2015 third-round pick Sammie Coates, who had two big catches in the Steelers' playoff loss to Denver.
As for Bryant, Bell -- apparently Skyping into the show from a vehicle parked in an undisclosed location -- said he understands how the receiver feels, having been suspended two games himself last season.
"You know, I literally was just in a similar situation, obviously, when I got suspended," Bell said. "When the news first hits and it's on ESPN and Twitter and everything, it hurts especially when you know it's about to come out because he probably knew a couple days before. And when it actually comes out, it's not something you can prepare for.
"People are going to tell you that they hate you and all of these negative things, but you have to understand you're human. You're a human being. I'm pretty sure if he wanted to be perfect -- if he could be perfect he would, but he can't be perfect. He can't be perfect, I can't be perfect -- nobody can.
"We all make mistakes. His mistake is more glorified because of what he does for a living. But he has to understand that he's a human being. He makes mistakes, he's going to learn from it, he's going to come back from it. I guess he's not doing the appeal so he's just going to take the suspension. I'm going to obviously be there for Martavis whenever he needs to talk to me. I haven't reached out to him yet, because I remember when I was in that situation, I didn't really want to talk that much. But I was going to reach out to him when I felt like everything had kind of calmed down a little bit and just kind of talk to him.
"I'm pretty sure when he gets back, he's going to learn from all of this and he's going to be a better player from it and a better person. That's what you have to do, you have to overcome it and be a better person."