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Insider Only Rumors: Steelers were prepared to accept 2019 4th round pick for Bell from NFC team

Pittsburgh’s 33-18 win over the Cleveland Browns Sunday afternoon was the James Conner show.

Conner gashed the Browns for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground, while totaling 212 yards from scrimmage in the victory.

Similar to the Cincinnati game, the Steelers dominated in the trenches as Conner flat out wore down the Browns over the 3rd and 4th quarters.

Sports can always act as a great healer. For a city that was and will be mourning Saturday’s tragedy for quite a long time, Sunday’s performance was special in that it was Conner who played such a big part in the Steelers victory.

Conner was Bettis like in bruising his way in-between the tackles and racking up yards after contact.

As “Conner, Conner, Conner” chants rang through Heinz Field on Sunday and have even extended to Ben Roethlisberger’s home as the QB noted on his weekly radio show (937 The Fan, 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday’s) one thing that can’t get overlooked with Conner’s emergence this season, not just as an adequate replacement for Le’Veon Bell but as an impact player is that character matters in being able to get back to a Super Bowl.

The Steelers had a ton of it during the Hines Ward era. They now have a lot of knuckleheads who are ‘me, me’, me’ players, showing up to walk-throughs late before playoff games (Hello Le’Veon Bell), while dysfunction follows them off the field like with Antonio Brown.

This stuff matters when you come up short so often like the Steelers have the last couple years, despite having rosters talented enough to win a Super Bowl.

The Steelers have needed more players like Conner with his type of character emerge at impact positions and it’s been a needed development.

Problem is, Le’Veon Bell is likely to be making his presence felt soon in that building…..

While Mike Tomlin is said to be heavily in favor of getting Le’Veon Bell back in the fold and believes he can handle any situation, the front office has been pushing to move on.

Unfortunately for the Steelers, Bell and his agent Adisa Bakari have held the Steelers hostage from doing that.

Pittsburgh’s front office over the last week had been so motivated to move on from Bell that they were prepared to accept Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

Those upstairs have great concerns that when Bell returns it will wipe out a lot of what the Steelers are building from a character standpoint and the growing consensus seems to be that when Le’Veon Bell is fully ready go, Conner is going to be on the bench.

Kevin Colbert and Co tried to make that decision for the coaching staff.

Word is Pittsburgh informing the Bell camp last week that his failure to accept a trade would lead to him going on the 2-week exempt list when he reports has led Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"


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— One under-the-radar position the Steelers checked into.

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About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at