Things ended badly between Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers. Pittsburgh wouldn't commit to Bell long term, so Le'Veon bet on himself, sat out a season, signed with the New York Jets for less money than the Steelers were offering him, but he got his long term contract.
Football is a business and teams and players have every right to make decisions that they think is best for the team, or as a player, what's best for them.
But, Bell sitting out a season and then not re-signing with Pittsburgh left the Steelers with a bit of a hole to fill. James Connor did a solid job, but he wasn't Le'Veon Bell.
I guess we should also mention that they traded Antonio Brown, and then in 2019 Ben Roethlisberger missed most of the season with an injury. The Steelers had the killer B's with Ben, Bell, and Brown, and by the time the 2019 season rolled around, they had no B's at all.
Heading in to the 2020 season the Steelers will have Ben Roethlisberger back, and according to 11-year NFL veteran Reggie Bush, Pittsburgh may not only have the next star RB on their hands but one that could be better than Bell ever was.
“The kid can flat-out fly,” Reggie Bush said of the new Steelers rookie. “He’s explosive. He is a game-breaking type of player.”
If Bush is correct and McFarland can just replicate what Bell was able to do in Pittsburgh, then it makes the AFC North that more interesting.
We're going to have to wait for the season to start to really get a feel how every team is going to be, but, I know that a lot of people have their eye on the AFC South, but I think the AFC North is shaping up be the best division - not just in the AFC, but in the entire NFL.
You have the defending conference winners the Baltimore Ravens and their explosive offense led by Lamar Jackson. Pittsburgh with their relentless defense and the return of Roethlisberger. The Cleveland Browns have the best offense on paper: Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and Austin Hooper. If Kevin Stefanski can bring those personalities together they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. And then of course you have the Cincinnati Bengals who just drafted Joe Burrow with the first overall pick.
The AFC North is going to be a fun division to watch this season, and according to Reggie Bush the Steelers are making the right moves to keep themselves in the mix.
Here's the thing about McFarland, even though Reggie Bush is making a pretty big claim, the Steelers running back corp is good enough that the rookie won't have to carry the brunt of the load, and Mike Tomlin can spread out workload. That being said, with Bush claiming that McFarland is better than Bell, that may raise Steelers fans expectations, and imagine the pressure that could be put on this kid to try and live up to the expectation of being better than one of the league's best running backs.
Last season, the Steelers ranked just 29th in the NFL in both rushing yards per game and rushing touchdowns. With the team’s struggles running the ball last year, Anthony McFarland may have the opportunity to showcase his explosiveness early on.