Big Ben praises Le'Veon Bell

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger created a buzz a couple of weeks ago when he said he didn't know what to expect from Le'Veon Bell because he hadn't seen the rookie running back do enough in practice.

Now Roethlisberger, whose comment was perceived to be a shot at Bell, who was still recovering from a mid-foot sprain, sounds like Bell's biggest fan.

"I hope he doesn't hear this, but I was really happy with the things he did and I'm not going to say that he was Adrian Peterson, but he showed some glimpses of some things I see Adrian Peterson do," Roethlisberger said Tuesday during his weekly radio show on 93.7 The Fan. "The reason I say I don't want him to hear this, I don't want him to hear me giving him all of this praise, because I want him to keep his nose to the grindstone and keep going hard."

Bell combined for 84 rushing and receiving yards in his NFL debut. The 6-foot-1, 244-pounder also ran for two scores in the Steelers' 34-27 loss to the Vikings on Sept. 29.

His return from an injury that had sidelined him since Aug. 19 provided a much-needed jolt to a running game that is 31st in the NFL (58.0 yards per game).

"I'm glad to see that spark come out of him," Steelers left guard Ramon Foster said of Bell. "I definitely think he can be a key to our offense. With a full game and another week under his belt, I think he can be a very special back."

What also impressed Roethlisberger about Bell is something that didn't show up in the box score. But it convinced the 10-year veteran that Bell is capable of handling the responsibilities of a feature back.

"When he was standing next to me in some of our third-down and shotgun plays, I was telling him, 'You need to pick this guy up,' and he looked at me with confidence in his eyes and no doubt about it, he was ready to go," Roethlisberger said on The Fan. "It didn't seem too big for him. I just want him to continue to keep developing and pushing himself to be better."

Bell said he hasn't experienced any lingering effects from the right foot injury he suffered in the Steelers' second preseason game. The team held him out of the two practices it held last week as a precaution.

"Even after the [Vikings] game, my foot felt good," Bell said. "I already knew this bye week was going to do good things for it."