In 2016, when the Pittsburgh Steelers went to Gillette Stadium to play the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game, fans went numb as they found out Le’Veon Bell injured his groin and would not return to the game.
DeAngelo Williams, who was also hampered by his own injuries, filled in nobly, but wasn’t nearly as effective as Bell would have been against Bill Belichick’s defense. What happened next was a Steelers’ offensive attack which lost its main weapon, and the rest is history.
Most, if not all, thought the injury was due to just wear and tear, and although that is how the injured groin started, it isn’t what kept Bell out of the game. That was due to a painkilling shot which went wrong.
Bell told reporters at the team’s facility Wednesday about the shot which could have made him feel too good, and to further injure the groin.
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Bell said he received an injection of Toradol, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, before the game in New England.
“I felt great in warmups,” he said. “The first play of the game, I got hit and all of the pain came back, and it was over. The Toradol kind of made me feel better than I actually was. I might have hurt it even worse.”
Bell left in the third series but returned for one second-quarter snap.
“After I hurt it, there was no going back in. It was over,” he said. “I tried to go back in. ... It wasn’t working.”
Across the locker room — even outside of his positional jurisdiction — offensive line coach Mike Munchak was praised by Steelers players Wednesday in the wake of news that the Arizona Cardinals are giving Munchak serious consideration to be their next head coach.
“He should definitely get the job. He’s the best candidate for it,” center Maurkice Pouncey said. “Guys gravitate to him. He really knows how to coach.”
Said guard Ramon Foster: “He deserves (the job). He should be in on more than just one head coaching job conversation. He’s a guy who’s changed a lot of us around, and he has a leader’s mentality.”
It’s no secret which of the three possible playoff opponents Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would like to face in the divisional round Jan. 14 at Heinz Field.
“I’ll give you guys one guess who you think I want to play,” Roethlisberger said.
That, of course, would be Jacksonville, which beat the Steelers, 30-9, on Oct. 8 when Roethlisberger threw a career-high five interceptions. Those were four fewer interceptions than he threw over the other 14 games he started this season.
“Any game that we are going to play anybody is going to be a difficult opponent,” Roethlisberger said. “For me, personally, I’d love to prove that five interceptions wasn’t me in that game.”