After Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner suffered a potentially serious shoulder injury in the team's Week 8 game against the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football, the Steelers did in fact inquire about trading for former running back Le'Veon Bell from the Jets before the trade deadline on Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Bell had previously said on Uninterrupted's '17 Weeks' podcast that there were at least four teams interested in trading for him -- the Texans, Packers, Chiefs, and Steelers.
"The trade rumors were definitely true," Bell said. "It was interesting, just after being in this city for six, seven months, I love this city. I love the city of New York. I actually stay in New Jersey but I'm up in New York all the time. I love the fans of New York City."
Conner suffered an AC joint injury against the Dolphins, and was not active for the Steelers' Week 9 game against the Colts. Second-year running back Jaylen Samuels started against the Colts, while Conner and rookie Benny Snell Jr. were both out. The only other active running back on the Steelers roster is Trey Edmunds, who has just one carry this season and was promoted to the active roster from the practice squad on October 11.
"Bell was not the only running back the Steelers pondered a trade for, but he easily was the most prominent, according to sources. But when the Steelers got word that Conner's injury wasn't as bad as they'd first thought and that he might miss only a couple of weeks, the talks with the Jets cooled, sources said," Schefter said.
It's an interesting situation, as Bell held out his entire final season in Pittsburgh while looking for a new contract with the team. In five years with the Steelers, Bell was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, rushing for 5,336 yards with 42 combined touchdowns on the ground and through the air.
Through seven games this season, Bell has just 349 rushing yards, 187 receiving yards, and two total touchdowns. He's averaging 3.2 yards per carry for the Jets -- a drop-off from his career average of 4.3 yards per carry while in Pittsburgh. He signed a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the Jets this past March.
Losing Conner for an extended period of time would be a tough break for the Steelers, as the third-year back from the University of Pittsburgh excelled in 2018 while Bell was holding out. He had 973 rushing yards, 497 receiving yards, and 13 total touchdowns in 13 games in 2018, good enough to make the Pro Bowl.
In seven games this season, Conner has 380 rushing yards, 236 receiving yards, and six total touchdowns.