PITTSBURGH, Jan. 11 (UPI) — Le’Veon Bell is rejuvenating the running back position in today’s NFL, similar to how Golden State Warriors‘ Stephen Curry is using his 3-point shot to do the same in the NBA.
The Pittsburgh Steelers running back told Bleacher Report Tuesday that “he’s changing the game,” just like the former NBA MVP. It’s with an almost painful patience that Bell has been able to take advantage of opposing defenses, carrying the Steelers on his back.
“I think I’m changing the game,” Bell told Bleacher Report. “In that sense, I’m what Steph Curry is to basketball. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily think Steph Curry is the best basketball player, but he changed the game so he’s going to always go down as being remembered. Now, everyone wants to shoot the three and shoot it from deep.”
Bell once shared a court with a current Warriors player, but it wasn’t Curry. It also wasn’t in an NBA arena. While attending Michigan State from 2010-2012, Bell overlapped the career of Spartans basketball star Draymond Green. Green played for Tom Izzo from 2008 through 2011. The duo mixed it up in the pickup circuit on campus when they had free time.
“His mindset changed,” Green told Bleacher Report. “He trains harder than anyone in the league and it shows in his play. You see the best player in the NFL.”
“To see him grow into the person he’s growing into—obviously he’s made his mistakes, which we all do, but the way he’s bounced back shows you a lot. Not everybody can bounce back from things the way he does. I’m looking forward to continuing to watch him grow and take the league by storm.”
Bell had 1,884 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns in just 12 games this season. He was named to his second Pro Bowl. In the Steelers’ wild card win Sunday against the Dolphins, Bell ran for 167 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries.
“It’s actually a different type of patience,” Jerome Bettis told USA TODAY Sports. “You almost think it’s patience to a fault. But he’s got a clear understanding of what he’s doing. His ability to assess the situation and make the right decision is uncanny. You’d think there’s an internal clock that tells him to go sooner, but he’s able to resist that.”
Bell’s patience has gone far from unnoticed, as opposing NFL coaches work to try to contain him. That includes Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who will be trying to do just that this weekend.
“The most patient that I’ve ever seen,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid told the team’s website. “That’s a unique style — one that he’s kind of created…that delay to get to the line of scrimmage. It’s been effective for him. He’s really the only one that does it, so it’s unique.”
The Chiefs host the Steelers at 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15 in the NFL divisional round at Arrowhead Stadium. Bell had 144 yards on 18 carries in the Steelers’ Oct. 2 win against the Chiefs at Heinz Field.