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The All-Pro problem: How Pittsburgh Steelers could use Le’Veon Bell if RB returns

Le’Veon Bell ensured that the intrigue regarding his potential continues as he issued a couple of cryptic tweets Wednesday night, one day after he bid his offseason home of Miami farewell.

Bell has returned to the Pittsburgh area but still hasn’t visited Steelers headquarters, per multiple reports.

But the Bell watch very well could soon end, because the disgruntled running back must report by next Tuesday if he is to play at all this season. If the all-pro does return rather than decide to remain out, coach Mike Tomlin and his staff have a predicament on their hands.

The Steelers started off slow this season, but have won four consecutive games and five of their last six. Meanwhile, Bell's replacement James Conner has thrived, rushing for 771 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season after Thursday night's thrashing of the Panthers.

Conner, who has topped the 100-yard mark in four of his last five games, has earned the respect and confidence of his teammates and coaches alike.

“The kid, to be completely honest about you, he just has a focus about him,” offensive guard Ramon Foster told USA TODAY Sports when asked about Conner two weeks ago. “He wants to be good. He wants to be that guy. You can tell it’s in him. I love watching him run because he has a passion about him. It’s not just us.”

But each week that Conner has shined, the question resurfaces: Do the Steelers really need Bell? And what happens to Conner if Bell returns?

The answer to the first question is yes. The Steelers absolutely need Bell, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, who is coming off of back-to-back seasons with at least 1,200 yards rushing and 600 yards receiving. With high-powered offenses in Kansas City and New England potentially standing in their way this postseason, Pittsburgh will need all the help it can get.

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