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Pittsburgh

Big Ben to push for RB Conner when Bell returns

Sports Xchange
11 Oct 2018, 01:30 GMT+10

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger doesn't want to see running back James Conner relegated to the bench when three-time Pro Bowl selection Le'Veon Bell returns to the team.

Roethlisberger made his feelings known Tuesday on 93.7 The Fan.

"Now granted, I think Le'Veon's one of the best in the business, I think we all understand that and can agree on that," Roethlisberger said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"But what James needs to understand -- and he's gonna say the right things, and he should (as) a younger guy with a veteran, awesome football player ahead of him -- but when Le'Veon comes back, in no way, shape or form should James just say, 'OK, it's all yours. I'm gonna sit back and when you need me, use me.'

"And I will push for James to get as much run as we can because we've seen some great things from him in all phases of football. He's picking up blitzes, he's catching the ball, he's running hard and making plays and playing with a passion, so we need to keep using that."

Conner has rushed 84 times for 342 yards and five touchdowns to go along with 22 receptions for 239 yards this season.

The Steelers (2-2-1) visit the Cincinnati Bengals (4-1) in an AFC North showdown on Sunday. They have a Week 7 bye before a contest versus the Cleveland Browns in Week 8. Bell could report during that period.

Pittsburgh has been exploring trading options for Bell and has been asking a steep price, notably at least a second-round draft pick in addition to another a "good" player, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

For Bell to be traded, he would have to sign his $14.54 million franchise tender. That move must be done since the Steelers can't trade him until the tender he is currently under contract.

If Bell isn't moved before the Oct. 30 trade deadline, the 26-year-old has until Nov. 13 to sign his tender in order to accrue a season toward free agency. Bell has forfeited more than $3.4 million in salary by missing the first four games of the season.

Bell struggled out of the blocks in 2017 before finishing the season with 1,291 rushing yards and 85 receptions for 655 yards. Bell was selected to the Pro Bowl for the third time and was named All-Pro for the second time.

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