That old softy Mike Tomlin, you just knew he couldn’t help getting nostalgic about the old days with Le'Veon Bell.
Via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Steelers coach was asked about his relationship with his former running back, whom he’ll see Sunday.
“I have none,” Tomlin said. “I don’t communicate with him. He’s a New York Jet.”
Of course, Bell chose to not play at all last year rather than play for Tomlin under the franchise tag, but with him playing against his team for the first time since then, the question was bound to come up.
In five years with the Steelers, Bell had 5,336 rushing yards, 2,660 receiving yards, and 42 combined touchdowns, as he became one of the most versatile threats in the league. He hasn’t exactly matched that kind of production with the Jets, as he he’s averaging 3.3 yards per carry, and is 24th in the league in yards from scrimmage.
But Tomlin was at least able to manage a compliment because that’s what coaches do, but said it wasn’t about him.
“I don’t have to tackle him. I don’t have a lot to worry about,” Tomlin said. “Tackling him is the issue. His teammates have seen him in training-camp like setting. It won’t be the first time those guys had a chance to combat him in those ways.
“We respect Le’Veon. We know the type of competitor he is. We know he’s going to answer the bell and be L-Bell in the game, and it’s our job to minimize that.”
And then they’ll get together, hug it out, and maybe roll a few frames afterward. Or something.