Le’Veon Bell rushed for 179 yards in Sunday’s win.

When asked to assess Bell’s Week 1 play, Tomlin said he needs to play better and will.

In the Steelers’ past three wins, Bell has produced 457 rushing yards on 102 carries and 116 receiving yards. Sunday marked his seventh career game with at least 100 yards at halftime. This was Bell’s third game this season with at least 60 rushing yards after contact. Only Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt has more. The 42-yard reception was his longest since 2014. After a slow start to the year because of a training camp holdout, Bell is back to his old self — and then some.

“The Jaguars, they ran the ball a lot of times — you can see over the course of the game just wearing down the defense,” Bell said. “Running the ball shortens the game, kind of opens up the offense, makes passing the ball easier, gets you in manageable downs. I think just over the course of the season you’ll see the teams that run the ball heavy win games.”

Running back Le’Veon Bell did not report to Pittsburgh Steelers training camp with the rest of the team Thursday, leaving his status for the start of the 2017 season uncertain. Le’Veon Bell attacked the goal post padding like a heavy bag after scoring a touchdown in the Pittsburgh Steelers’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, then backed up his moves the following day.

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Asked about Bell for a segment to air during the Steelers Radio Network’s pregame show in advance of tonight’s game vs. the Giants, Tomlin admitted that he and Bell have continued to communicate regularly even once training camp started.

Nike Steelers #26 Le'Veon Bell Red Men's Stitched NFL Game AFC 2017 Pro Bowl Jersey
Nike Steelers #26 Le’Veon Bell Red Men’s Stitched NFL Game AFC 2017 Pro Bowl Jersey

When the Steelers first reported to Saint Vincent College on July 27, Bell didn’t report with the rest of the players and really wasn’t expected to. He had yet to sign his tender as the team’s franchise player and therefore was prohibited from taking part. Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been suspended without pay for the first three games of the 2016 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Bell took some shots at Mixon via his Twitter account during the first half of the Bengals’ 24-23 victory over the Colts. With the Steelers playing in the late game Steelers jersey cheap, Bell was apparently watching the Bengals’ contest and hadn’t forgotten about some comments Mixon made about him the week before.

Bell later told the media that Roethlisberger indeed relayed some pertinent bits of the Terrell Davis documentary, and digging through the old gamebooks proves its validity.

It’s fair to say Bell is one of the best receiving backs in football, but if a team’s second wideout was averaging just 8.8 yards per catch, they would try to replace him. If Bell were averaging even 11 or 12 yards per catch, that would be a different story. In terms of production, I’d characterize Bell as a No. 1 running back and a slot receiver.

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The defense had allowed a big-play touchdown on Indianapolis’ first possession of the second half, but then the offense answered with an eight-play, 77-yard touchdown drive of its own, a drive that included just a single third-down situation, which was a third-and-1 converted by a 5-yard run by Le’Veon Bell.

Need evidence that Bell is all the way back? Five of Bell’s first 19 carries went for 10 yards or more. The Steelers utilized pulling guards and two-tight end sets to spring Bell open on the perimeter, giving him the chance to work the outside or cut back inside.

The Steelers play their third preseason game Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts, with the first-team offense set to play well into the first half. A source previously had told Fowler that Bell was not expected back for the game.

Teammates generally have supported Bell despite his absence. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger calls Bell an “amazing football player” who shouldn’t have problems learning new wrinkles in the offense, though he cautions that “football shape” is much different than training on your own. Fresh off his first practice with the team in 2017, Bell said he resumed his usual workload and is eager to graduate to football pads during Wednesday’s practice.