This was always part of Le’Veon Bell’s business plan Youth Colin Miller Jersey , the one that the Pittsburgh Steelers running back put together over the summer when he decided to skip training camp while waiting to sign his franchise tag tender.
Bell’s eyes weren’t focused on August but January. No camp meant less wear and tear on the legs that are pivotal to his team’s Super Bowl hopes.
Even after a season in which his 406 touches were 60 more than any other player in the league, Bell insists he’s ”100” as the kids say heading into Sunday’s divisional round game against Jacksonville.
”I feel great, especially not playing these last two weeks, not going to camp earlier in the year,” Bell said Wednesday. ”I can’t complain. I like where I am. This is the freshest I’ve ever been going into the playoffs so we’ll see how it goes.”
Bell missed the 2014 and 2015 playoffs with knee injuries and after practically carrying the Pittsburgh offense through the second half of the season in 2016, the groin problem he spent weeks trying to ignore flared up early in the AFC championship game.
He managed just 20 yards on six carries before leaving in the second quarter of a 36-17 loss to New England and spent the rest of the game watching from the sideline, helpless amid the blowing snow.
A year later, the memory lingers. Bell knows Pittsburgh’s best chance to finally unseat the Patriots is with his No. 26 featured prominently.
It’s one of the main reasons why he waited until Sept. 4 to sign the franchise tender that made him the highest-paid running back in the league, a decision that briefly alienated the fan base, but one his teammates understood completely.
The running back and part-time rapper considers himself unlike any other player in the league. It’s not a coincidence that he mentioned ”$17 million” during one freestyle session over the summer.
If anything, the $12 million he’s earned this season looks like a bargain. Bell earned first-team All-Pro honors at the ”flex” position, a testament to his unique skillset.
He finished third in the league in yards rushing (1,291) and 10th in receptions (85) despite sitting out the regular-season finale with a first-round bye already clinched.
”He wanted to get paid $17 million, but that’s because of what he does,” guard Ramon Foster said.
”He catches and runs the ball Jake Guentzel Jersey Kids , he blocks. He does everything. That’s right up his alley. To be honest, I’m happy for him because he made himself into that. You can’t just be a running back anymore and he’s proven that.”
Yet Bell is at the point in his career where what happens from September through December is no longer the point.
On a team loaded with talent, he’s well aware the one thing he’s missing on his resume is the one thing that a massive payday and all the regular-season touches in the world can’t buy.
”I honestly don’t care about records or things like that,” Bell said. ”I just want to win a championship. I think everything else kind of comes with it.”
And Bell isn’t afraid to speak his mind to make sure Pittsburgh’s season ends in Minneapolis next month. He didn’t hesitate to question his relatively light workload during a 30-9 loss to Jacksonville on Oct. 8. He carried just 15 times for 47 yards against a team that came into the game ranked last in the NFL against the rush.
”We didn’t necessarily stick to our game plan, we had to start playing catch-up a little bit so we couldn’t really run the ball as much as we wanted to,” Bell said. ”We’ll see how the game goes. We want to be balanced.”
For the Steelers that often means making sure Bell is a vital part of the process. Pittsburgh is 6-0 this season when Bell has 30 touches or more.
It sounds like a lot because it is a lot.
Yet Bell also hasn’t crossed it since a win over Green Bay the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Compare that to a year ago, when he needed a painkiller shot before the AFC title game just to play, a patchwork solution that failed spectacularly.
The first time the Patriots hit Bell, the throbbing in his groin returned. There will be no shot necessary on Sunday.
”I don’t go into a game feeling achy or sore,” Bell said. ”I’m going there and literally feeling like it’s new, like I haven’t played in a minute, I want to get back out there.”
The proof can be heard on the practice field, where Foster says Bell keeps yelling ”Tempo! Tempo!” in an effort to get his teammates to pick up the pace, not always an easy task more than five months into the season.
”His sense of urgency is higher than I ever seen it,” Foster said. ”He’s eager about it. When you’ve got a guy like him that’s eager to do it … you’ve got to believe in those guys.”
NOTES: DE Stephon Tuitt (elbow) was limited in practice on Wednesday. … DB Artie Burns (knee) was also limited. … WR Antonio Brown (left calf) was listed as a full participant.
NEW YORK (AP) — During the mandatory rookie camp back in June Jake DeBrusk Jersey , the New York Giants required players to take a yoga class. Running back Robert Martin walked in, looked around at his new teammates and thought, man, this is crazy.
“We usually don’t do yoga,” he said. “We stretch, but we don’t do yoga.”
Even as a first-timer, though, Martin immediately knew how the two were different .
“It definitely felt weirder than regular stretching,” he said. “It was a lot harder because you have to sit in certain positions we’ve never been in before.”
Players like New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams and Giants quarterback Davis Webb prefer yoga because it requires a set amount of time dedicated to the practice. That is the activity . They can focus on their body without worries of what’s next and feel an immediate difference afterward.
The poses in yoga are more beneficial than typical stretching because they incorporate all parts of the body into the movements, Los Angeles Chargers Director of Football/Medical Services James Collins said. Stretching is linear. Yoga is non-linear, helping multidirectional joints such as the elbow, wrist, ankle, hip and shoulder.
All of the major joints are encased in a capsule and contain fluid to help prevent friction between bones. Yoga helps maintain the capsules.
“I describe it to (a player) as really thick saran wrap that covers his joint so that the fluid stays in there,” said Collins Adam Larsson Jersey , also the Professional Football Athletic Trainers’ Society president. “But at the same time, that saran wrap needs to have its flexibility — keep it stretched out — so the join can function properly.”
Joint integrity comes down to maintaining mobility, he said. Because yoga is a multidirectional exercise, it allows the joint to move in every direction it can.
Take the hip. Downward dog, pigeon pose or runner’s lunge are just some of the yoga poses that benefit the hip. Downward dog alone has multiple variations to stretch the hip in different directions.
“But if we lay down on the floor at home and just pull our leg straight up over our head, that’s linear,” Collin said. “So that joint is only getting work in that direction.”
The knee is not multidirectional, he said, which is why it’s so vulnerable to getting hurt. It’s not made to go certain ways.
National Athletic Trainers’ Association president Tory Lindley, who’s Director of Athletic Training Services at Northwestern University, believes yoga creates a more conducive environment for muscle lengthening. It doesn’t just jump right into poses. It’s a progression, working through the whole body rather than just parts.
Static stretching doesn’t allow that.
“We’ve gone away from pre-practice stretching,” Lindley said. “There’s much better benefits from a pre-practice dynamic workout, which is what the vast majority of teams regardless of sport will do. And then post-practice, when flexibility training is beneficial Martin Frk Jersey , in most cases that environment is much more about let’s get off the field as quickly as we can versus let’s take time to dedicate to the stretching or flexibility piece.”
The debate isn’t if yoga should be done before or after practice, it’s when is there time to aside for yoga and yoga alone.
Gwen Lawrence, the founder of Power Yoga for Sport who worked with Giants for 18 seasons, said NFL players should do yoga twice a week with sessions lasting an hour. That’s best case scenario and more realistic for the offseason. Right now, Kaleen Lugo gets 45 minutes once or twice a week with the Chargers, depending on their preseason schedule. During the regular season, players should at least do it on their recovery day, whether the team offers it or they do it independently.
It should become a routine so players can develop and advance their personal practice.
“Just a straight sun salutation,” Giants linebacker Jordan Williams said of doing progression of yoga moves. “When you start getting that flow through — warrior, warrior lunge, runner’s lunge and then bring that through with downward dog and upward dog — I love that.”
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