Steelers Officially Wash Hands of Le'Veon Bell by Giving Away His Number to Rookie

Le'Veon Bell, Mike Tomlin
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell with former coach Mike Tomlin | Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Two seasons after Le'Veon Bell played his last down in the Steel City, Pittsburgh is finally moving on, as all breakups must eventually progress.

Despite flirtations at a potential return -- none with substantial smoke, we might add -- the Steelers have given away Bell's No. 26 to rookie running back Anthony McFarland.

This is about the only case where Kevin Dotson's No. 69 choice would be an afterthought. Bell's impact on Pittsburgh, and eventual unceremonious exit, left a bad taste in the mouths of most Steelers fans. Yet, several kind-hearted tributes by Bell since then have somewhat mended the relationship in the aftermath.

Bell's contract came at a price the Steelers were unable to meet, and there's even been talk of the Jets moving on from the Michigan State product after one season. Pittsburgh has space in their running back room, but any trade would bring with it the same financial conflict that motivated Bell to sit out the entire 2018 season.

McFarland has big shoes to fill. While no one is expecting him to live up to Bell's standard, stealing his number indicates that confidence isn't a problem for McFarland.