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Le'Veon Bell on the Bengals: 'We're going to try our best to go out there and play clean football'

PITTSBURGH -- Rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has never played in a game against Cincinnati, but he's been getting a crash course this week.

Smith-Schuster said Thursday that coach Mike Tomlin has told him -- and shown video -- of what to expect from the Bengals' physical defense. Now, he expects Sunday to be the most physical game he's played in the NFL.

And he's excited about it.

"That's an emphasis for what I bring to the table," Smith-Schuster said, "and what I bring to the team."

Smith-Schuster also has yet to face Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, but he's heard stories about him, too. Cincinnati has won two straight games since Burfict returned from a suspension for an illegal hit during the preseason.

Le'Veon Bell is familiar -- maybe too familiar -- with Burfict. Burfict ended Bell's season in 2015 with a sideline tackle that tore Bell's right MCL. Months later, Bell said he believed Burfict was trying to hurt him.

Bell didn't walk back those thoughts when asked about them this week.

"[He's not] the only one," Bell said. 

As for who specifically was targeting him ...

"The Bengals were."

Bell said that means there will be an extra focus on getting through Sunday's game healthy.

"Obviously, I go out there and protect myself at all times," he said. "That's the main goal of football, I'll do that I can. That's the main goal is to protect myself."

Later in the 2015 season, after Bell's injury, the Steelers traveled to Cincinnati in the wild-card round. Pittsburgh won, 18-16, helped by a late personal foul penalty from Burfict.

But Burfict also injured Ben Roethlisberger and ended Antonio Brown's season in that game with a vicious late hit, prompting Brown to say during the offseason, "Guys don't want to stop me no more. They want to take me out. They want to kill me."

Asked if he was worried about anything crossing the line on Sunday, Bell said, "That's how rivalries go."

"We're going to try our best to go out there and play clean football, play everything within guidelines," Bell said. "That's what we got to do, go out there and play football and beat them like that."

As for Burfict in particular?

"It's going to be what it is," Bell said. "He's a great football player. I'm going to go out there and treat him with respect and we'll see what happens."

Source :

Le'Veon Bell on the Bengals: 'We're going to try our best to go out there and play clean football'
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