uring those heat-soaked days of rehab in the late spring and early summer, Bell and Bommarito rehearsed their secret weapon — they were ditching traditional running back drills for full-speed acceleration/deceleration work on a track, training the body to start and stop efficiently without overloading knee joints.
Now, at his locker, which is among the most circulated in the Steelers facility, Bell outstretches his right leg and points to various parts of his thigh and hamstring on his Steelers mesh shorts. When it comes to his command of each run with fluidity, “[the training] made all the difference,” he said.
To unwind after those workouts, Bell would often scan his social-media accounts, retweeting compliments and taking mental notes of doubters. More fuel. Looking for a blueprint for post-knee-injury success, Bell found himself watching YouTube videos of Adrian Peterson’s wildly successful comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament on his way to 2,097 yards in 2012.
“He won an MVP,” Bell says. “I said, ‘Why can’t I have a season like that?'”
He got close this year. But play a full season, and Bell might answer his own question. He has a plan for that, too. What’s the goal? Another 2,000? 2,500?
Another smirk, a look down at the floor and a goal quietly spoken into existence.
“I’m trying to get 3,000,” he says.
“He’s definitely about his business and handling things like a grown-up more than ever,” Caper says. “You can tell that difference. Not that he wasn’t before, but life can hit you fast, and I think he realized that he had more to accomplish.”