The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially signed veteran running back Ben Tate with running back Le'Veon Bell's playing status in doubt.
Bell suffered a hyper-extended right knee injury in the regular season game finale against the Cincinnati Bengals that will more than likely keep him sidelined for the Steelers playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. Bell was having a breakout year with 2,215 total yards from scrimmage and established himself as the Steelers' workhorse back, and one of the best running backs that the NFL has to offer.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that MRI tests showed Bell didn't suffer any structural damage to his knee. He also made it clear that while they haven't ruled Bell out they won't rush him back if it compromises his long-term health.
As a result the Steelers have signed Tate, who was released by the Minnesota Vikings last week, after being released by the Cleveland Browns a couple of weeks prior. Tate had rushed for 333 yards, averaging 3.1 yards per carry while also scoring 4 rushing touchdowns.
Tate will have three full practices with the Steelers this week to learn the offense. Josh Harris, an un-drafted rookie, is also in line to get a good share of the carries Saturday night if Bell is unable to play.
The Steelers will lose a huge part of their offense if Bell isn't able to play as he had been on quite a hot streak down the stretch of the regular season in helping the Steelers to winning the NFC North division crown and into the playoffs. Steelers may have to rely on Ben Roethlisbeger and Antonio Brown even more if they're to pick up a playoff win.