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Steelers notebook: RB Bell could miss another month with injury

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell sits on the bench during his team's preseason opener Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, at Heinz Field.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Dejan Kovacevic and Alan Robinson
Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 10:48 a.m.

The Steelers could be without Le'Veon Bell, their projected starting running back, for longer than expected.

Bell has a midfoot sprain that's being classified as a Lisfranc injury, a source told the Tribune-Review on Wednesday morning, and the team now is hoping to have him return in about a month.

As recently as last week, Bell had expressed hope of returning for the next game in Cincinnati, but coach Mike Tomlin offered no update during his Tuesday news conference.

Bell, the touted second-rounder out of Michigan State, was hurt in an Aug. 19 preseason game in Washington.

Ben skips some practice

Ben Roethlisberger missed about an hour of practice Wednesday to attend to personal business but still got in part of a day's work. He is 9-1 in Cincinnati in his career.

Asked about the disappointment of losing the opener, he said, “(It's) not confidence threatening. We expect to win every game, no matter who we're playing or where we're playing. We had high expectations going into that game, but like any given Sunday, if you don't play well, you're going to get beat.”

Velasco eyes starting job

Kelvin Beachum worked again at center, but the newly acquired Fernando Velasco is confident he'll be starting soon.

“I know they didn't run me in here to hold water on the sidelines,” he said.

Unlike Beachum, Velasco is a natural center who started 16 games for Tennessee last season. Beachum never had played the position until Sunday.

LB Jones could get nod

Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones could be in line to start in Cincinnati.

He practiced with the first unit and said he is confident of remaining there the rest of the week. He alternated against Tennessee, mostly with Jason Worilds.

Looking for redemption

Asked what the Steelers' theme is following their upset loss to the Titans, receiver Emmanuel Sanders said: “Redemption Monday. … No disrespect to Tennessee, but we didn't go out and execute. We didn't play to the best of our ability, and guys are upset.”

Timmons studies up

Linebacker Lawrence Timmons plans to do some homework as he prepares to replace Larry Foote in relaying the calls to the defense.

He will be the only player on defense with a radio in his helmet.

“I'm just getting my book right now to make sure I've got all the calls,” Timmons said. “I'll practice that, try to get better day by day with it.”

Dwyer not criticizing

Running back Jonathan Dwyer appears to be upset the Steelers cut him less than two weeks ago, and several teammates detected his determination to prove them wrong.

Dwyer took a turn with the No. 1 unit Wednesday, although Isaac Redman remains listed as the starter.

Dwyer wouldn't criticize the team's 32-yard effort against the Titans, saying, “We had some good things, and we had some bad things.”

He didn't watch the game.

‘He's another opponent'

James Harrison, Mr. Nobody?

Emmanuel Sanders suggests the Steelers will treat their longtime teammate and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year just like any other player Monday. Harrison signed with the Bengals after being unable to work out a contract renegotiation in Pittsburgh.

“I'm happy for him. He's in a great situation, but he's not wearing that black and yellow anymore,” Sanders said. “We've got to treat him like he's a nobody, he's another opponent.”

Dejan Kovacevic and Alan Robinson are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach Kovacevic at or via Twitter @Dejan_Kovacevic. Reach Robinson at or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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