- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense has been dominated by three players all season, but one stood above the rest.

Running back Le’Veon Bell edged wide receiver Antonio Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the Steelers MVP award Tuesday, as voted on by their teammates. The final count wasn’t publicized, but center Maurkice Pouncey acknowledged that Bell’s margin was thin.

“Yeah, it was real tight. I’d like to know who didn’t vote for me,” Pouncey said with a laugh. “But Little Walter Jr., he deserved it.”

That’s “Little Walter Jr.,” as in Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton. Pouncey and Foster have begun calling Bell that after the budding second-year star matched Payton’s 1977 mark of three straight games with at least 200 yards from scrimmage. Bell was humbled by the comparison and the MVP vote.

“The MVP is an individual award, but it’s really a team award in my eyes, because I can’t do it without my teammates,” Bell said. “Those guys deserve it just as much as I do. I’m just proud to be a Pittsburgh Steeler.”

Bell plans to present Christmas gifts to his offensive linemen as a token for helping him achieve franchise records with 2,115 yards from scrimmage and 77 catches for 774 yards heading into Sunday’s season finale against Cincinnati. Bell has 11 total touchdowns, including eight on the ground, and leads the AFC with 1,341 yards rushing.

Brown leads the NFL with 122 catches for 1,570 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Roethlisberger has completed better than 67 percent of his passes for 4,635 yards and 30 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. Roethlisberger cast his ballot for tight end Heath Miller, as usual, but had no problem with Bell getting the award.

“It was very well-deserved,” Roethlisberger said. “The things that he did this year, it was more than just the running game and passing game, catching the ball, blocking. When you think of an MVP, that guy should come to mind. So, I think it was very well-deserved.”

Bell went the other way with his choice.

“My vote was Antonio Brown,” Bell said. “Ben also is a guy who could have won it. But, really, the offensive line deserves it. Those guys do everything. Me, Ben or A.B., we can’t do anything without those guys. I watch the way they work. I watch the way they practice, and I watch the way they bond, how close they are, the way they interact with each other. Their relationship makes us go.”

NOTES: Bell is the fifth Steelers running back to win the award since 1969, joining Willie Parker, Jerome Bettis, Barry Foster and Franco Harris. . The Steelers did not have to submit an injury report Tuesday.

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