Steelers linemen rip Le'Veon Bell over holdout

Sherman Parsons
September 6, 2018

With the National Football League season opener scheduled to start on September 6, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell still remains locked in an intense contract dispute with his team, failing to report for training or preseason games.

The Steelers have the option of doing so.

Bell did not report to the Steelers' facility for Wednesday morning meetings and has not signed his $14.5 million franchise tag, setting the stage for James Conner to start Sunday at Cleveland.

Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after a 20 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on December 10, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

General manager Kevin Colbert - who issued a statement Monday that the team was "disappointed" Bell hadn't signed the tender - will not be made available for comment, but the Steelers issued a statement through director of communications Burt Lauten. I put most of the onus on Bell and his agent, it's pretty clear they don't "get" it, but the front office shouldn't be left off the hook so easily either. We're not anxious, they said. "I've got an opportunity for Sunday and I can't wait for it". We know right now his days in Pittsburgh are precarious at best.

"So I'd like to say that the linemen are more important than any skill position player, including myself, on this team".

The Steelers used to be in the business of winning Super Bowls, but it's been a decade since they won their sixth Lombardi Trophy.

For however long Bell is gone, here is how the Steelers' offense will look without him.

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Teammates and fans have been upset with Bell lately, rightfully so, after Bell ghosted them two times in one week, but Bell's agent, Adisa Bakari, on a Sirius XFM NFL Radio show with Brady Quinn and Bruce Murray, explained why he is holding out and how much time he could miss.

"Honestly it's a little selfish", said center Maurkice Pouncey, a captain who had predicted Bell would arrive by Wednesday. He can still technically accrue a full year of service time if he reports by Week 10.

Stevan Ridley and rookie Jaylen Samuels will back up Conner.

Bell fears that the Steelers are going to run him into the ground and that is basically what they did previous year giving him 400-plus carries. Bakari told NFL Live in an appearance Wednesday, "He's going to do the things necessary to protect his value long-term".

"Like I said, we have a lot of weapons", Roethlisberger said.

That's their way of saying, "You're it".

The sudden heel-turn on Bell appears coordinated.

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