Bell, who suffered a torn MCL and PCL in Week 8 and had knee surgery last November, told ESPN that he'll be good to go when the Steelers' camp opens on July 28. The fourth-year running back did admit, though, that he needs to get used to getting hit again.
"I'm going to be ready," Bell said, according to ESPN. "The biggest thing for me is getting mentally ready for getting hit and things like that, and I don't think I'll really get tackled until a preseason game or maybe in the regular season. I don't think I'll actually hit the ground or get tackled. But when that does happen, I'll be ready for it. But cutting, running routes, picking them and putting them on my feet, everything is back to normal."
We've seen knee injuries debilitate and end careers for running backs. It is common for players to lose their lateral quickness, explosiveness and power with the type of injury Bell had. But we've also seen players, like Adrian Peterson, bounce back strong from a major knee injury. Bell believes he'll be more like the latter.
"It's crazy because, in November when it happened, I never realize I'd be back at this point," the running back said. "I remember it was times when I couldn't walk up the steps, walk down the steps, really couldn't sit down by myself, even go to the restroom. I'm just thinking now I'm right back to form how I was when I left. Obviously, it's more of a mental thing for me now. I know my knee is strong enough now. I know it's probably stronger than it ever was, my legs are."
Aside from his knee injury, Bell has some added motivation. He is entering the final year of his rookie contract. If the running back backs up what he's saying, he should be signing a hefty contract in the not-so-distant future.