Thursday arrived with the shocking revelation that Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount had been arrested for marijuana, a move which seemingly threw the team into a tail spin as the Steelers came up small in their big preseason test vs. the Eagles.
- But perhaps the two events aren’t as juxtaposed as it first appears.
Mentorship in the NFL
Mentorship in the NFL takes on many forms. Sometimes it involves old hands showing rookies the ropes, a role that Jerome Bettis took upon himself with rookie Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. Other times it involves an established starter instilling the necessary work ethic in a younger player, as Hines Ward did with Plaxico Burress in 2001.
- Other times it involves a player enforcing attitude adjustments.
- And sometimes mentors role model off the field behavior.
Rod Woodson arrived in Pittsburgh as a cocksure first round draft pick. It would be impossible to say he rubbed his teammates the wrong way during his first training camp, because he wasn’t there – he held out all through camp and for the season’s first 8 games.
- Such behavior couldn’t have endeared him to Chuck Noll or Dan Rooney.
Woodruff of course was the remaining defensive veteran from the Super Steelers and was in the process of finishing his law degree at Duquesne Law. It is impossible to know how much influence Woodruff had on Woodson, but Woodson clearly got the message. He never caused off the field distractions, and blossomed into a Hall of Famer.
Who Should Toll the Bell?
The life of an NFL running back has always been short, and is only getting shorter. Le’Veon Bell came to the Steelers with a certain sense of bravado, as evidence by his first somersault touchdown. A little bravado is a good thing, but it can quickly degenerate into arrogance. And arrogance can derail a career.
- If Bell’s comments about not knowing he could get a DWU for driving while stoned are any indication, the young man has a lot to learn about life.
- Off the field mentoring offers no guarantee that the mentoree will not go astray.
But that doesn’t mean the Mike Tomlin shouldn’t try to surround Bell with a positive influence by pairing him on the road with someone such as say, Heath Miller or Ike Taylor, player knows what it takes to get a Super Bowl ring.
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