Le’Veon Bell will not report to the Pittsburgh Steelers per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The running back had until November 13th at 4 p.m. Eastern to maintain his eligibility for this season, and his decision not to play will cost him his $14.5 million salary.
“Le’Veon Bell is not reporting to the Steelers by the 4 pm deadline today and is now ineligible to play the remainder of the 2018 season, source tells ESPN. His season is over. Bell will become an unrestricted free agent this winter, when the bidding for his services will begin…Before today, Le’Veon Bell had lost out on $8.5 million in wages for the 2018 season. Today the remaining $6 million goes away. Bell is bidding goodbye to $14.5 million to stay healthy and strike a mega deal this off-season,” Schefter tweeted.
For the Steelers to franchise tag Bell once again, they would have to pay Bell a quarterback-level salary in 2019. This is something the team is unlikely willing to do meaning his tenure in Pittsburgh appears to be over. The team opted not to trade Bell at the deadline leaving them with little options if he did not report.
Schefter detailed what is at stake by not reporting to the team.
By not reporting by Tuesday’s deadline, Bell will also forgo approximately $200,000 in benefits that come along with a credited NFL season, sources said.
That figure includes benefits from a pension, an annuity, 401K contributions and a health reimbursement account.
“I don’t think it even enters his mind,” said one source familiar with the NFL’s benefits package. “When you lose a credited and retire, you wish you had it then. But you’re not thinking about that now.”
But the reason he has been willing to forgo all of this so far is the reason that multiple people do not expect to see Bell this week, or this season, either. And if Bell doesn’t report by Tuesday, which is now the belief, then his Steelers career would be over.
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin Has Not Spoken With Le’Veon Bell
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported it is looking unlikely as well.
“It’s 30 minutes until the deadline for #Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell to show up and sign his franchise tag and @AKinkhabwala is in front of the building. Bell has not walked by her yet. Looking like that’s a wrap for 2018,” Rapoport tweeted.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin met with reporters earlier today and noted Bell had not returned his messages.
“I have no reaction,” Tomlin told NFL.com. “I’ve told you guys and I’ve told you guys consistently, a reaction comes from me if and when he walks in the door. Until that happens, I’m business as usual and focused on those that are here and working, and appropriately so. That way I don’t waste my time and theirs…I understand that business is an element of the game of football. And the elements of the game, relationships within the game, football-related relationships that we all hold near and dear and understand. And then, football at this level, there’s also a business element. Even when we don’t understand it, we’re sensitive to it. So we’re not shocked when things happen from a business standpoint.”