The situation with Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers continues to get stranger as the days go on. While we’ve now seen Bell simply no-show ahead of Week 1 after holding out all offseason, followed by teammates calling the running back out, the action took another turn Thursday.
As NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala revealed, Bell’s agent previously asked the Steelers how they plan to use his client. As you can imagine this didn’t go over very well with head coach Mike Tomlin.
It’s somewhat strange and comes on the heels of ESPN’s Field Yates revealing that Bell’s agent, Adisa Bakari, stated the running back would do whatever necessary to protect his long-term value.
Obviously, as we found out, Week 1 was more than just a long-shot. It apparently never really had much of a chance of happening.
At this point, it seems as though Bell is focused on just navigating his way through this season in order to get a huge payday next free agency. Obviously, Bell isn’t wrong to think about his future, but he is currently under contract with the Steelers. Also, it’s worth noting that the running back turned down a five-year, $70 million deal this offseason.
For comparison’s sake, the offer the Steelers made to Bell featured an annual salary of $14 million, which is only a half-million per year less than Todd Gurley’s new deal. The Los Angeles Rams gave their running back a four-year, $60 million extension this offseason.
Bell is now unlikely to show up for Week 2 it seems, which means James Conner will once again run the show. Based on this strange run of comments and statements, it’s realistic to think the talented running back could opt to sit out for an extended period. The question is, exactly how many game checks will Bell skip out on in order to protect his value after the season?