Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell continues to make headlines during his holdout. The Steelers have not heard from Le’Veon Bell or from his agent, as CBS Sports reported, despite the running back’s supposed plan to arrive during Pittsburgh’s Week 7 bye. Bell has missed all of the Steelers’ six games this season, refusing to report to Pittsburgh after receiving a franchise tag during the offseason, hoping to secure a long-term deal.
The All-pro has forfeited more than $5 million of the $14.5 million he was projected to make this season. In negotiations during the summer, Bell was offered a $70 million contract from the Steelers with $17 million in guarantees, a figure that Le’Veon felt was too low. NFL running backs Todd Gurley and David Johnson received similar deals with more than double that figure in guarantees.
Bell’s decision to holdout has some NFL analysts perplexed, including columnist Andrew Brandt, who took to Twitter to voice his opinion.
“Le’Veon Bell has now, by staying away, sacrificed more than $5 million of his $14.5 million scheduled for this year. And as a former agent and team executive, I still don’t get it.”
The Steelers running back averaged 128.3 yards per game during his first five seasons, an all-time high in NFL history. In an interview with Jeremy Fowler with ESPN, Le’Veon Bell explained why he was holding out and what the decision is costing him, as Bleacher Report documented.
“It’s costing me some fans. A lot of people call me selfish, but I’m really not. I’m doing it for guys behind me or guys who don’t understand what’s going on in the business of football. The 22 years I’ve been playing football, I’ve always brought value. I don’t think the Steelers valued me as much.”
Bell went on to say that he thinks his teammates understand his decision and that he’s not upset with what some are saying about him in the media. In his absence, James Conner has been filling in and putting up some impressive numbers. Conner has rushed for 342 yards this NFL season, ranking eighth in the league, and he has found 22 receptions for 239 yards with a total of five touchdowns.
During the Steelers’ 28-21 victory against division rival Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Le’Veon tweeted his support of James Conner.
damn james ????????— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) October 14, 2018
On Wednesday, Pittsburgh signal caller Ben Roethlisberger said that Conner has earned a prominent role on the Steelers’ offense, even after Bell returns, as ESPN reported. “Big Ben” said that Conner has done some amazing things and deserves to be on the field. The Steelers’ quarterback added that they all know what Le’Veon Bell brings to the table and that they will cross that bridge if and when it happens.