James Conner in concussion protocol as potential Le'Veon Bell return to Steelers looms

The Steelers picked up arguably their biggest win of the season in Thursday night's rout of the Panthers, but they did lose running back James Conner after 13 carries. Conner, who had his four-game streak of 100-plus yard games snapped on Thursday, is officially in the NFL's concussion protocol, keeping him out until he clears the proper tests.

That, of course, raises questions about the Steelers' running back situation. Specifically: Will Le'Veon Bell rejoin the team? Bell is in Pittsburgh, but he's yet to rejoin the Steelers.

The Steelers' bye week has already come and gone, and Bell can be tagged next season -- but his hit would reportedly come at a staggering $25 million. Given the nature of the running back position and Conner's level of play, there's no scenario in which the Steelers take that hit.

Stevan Ridley and Jaylen Samuels got carries for the Steelers on Thursday, with neither back really getting much going on the ground. Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster were more than enough to pick up the slack in a game that was already well in hand. The Steelers' next game is against the much-maligned Jaguars, but despite their woes the Jaguars do have the No. 2 pass defense in the NFL in terms of yards per game. They're 24th against the run in yards per game, so the Steelers will definitely want to attack that part of their defense.

Our Latest Stories