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Steelers giving Le’Veon Bell an unprecedented workload

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 12: Le’Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers stiff arms Pierre Desir #35 of the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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Le’Veon Bell has been the Steelers’ starting running back since they drafted him in 2013, but he’s never been the kind of workhorse he is this year.

Bell has 220 carries through nine games, which puts him on pace for 391 carries on the season. Bell’s previous career high was 290 carries, which he totaled in 2014. Throw in Bell’s 40 catches and he’s on pace to finish the season with 462 total touches, far exceeding his previous high of 373, also set in 2014.

Bell has 50 more touches than Ezekiel Elliott, who has the second-most touches in the NFL this season, and his lead over Elliott will obviously grow during Elliott’s six-game suspension. No team in the league is featuring any player anywhere close to as much as the Steelers are featuring Elliott.

On his current pace, Bell would finish the season with the second-most touches in NFL history, second only to James Wilder, who had 492 touches with the 1984 Buccaneers. That’s a huge workload, and one that might leave Bell banged up heading into the offseason -- when he becomes a free agent.