Le'Veon Bell not reporting to Steelers, won't play in 2018

Sherman Parsons
November 14, 2018

That marked the official end to the possibility of Bell playing this season, one that grew more remote with each passing week.

The tenuous relationship between Bell and the Steelers reached a permanent breaking point on Tuesday, when the holdout running back missed the 4 p.m. deadline to sign a contract in time to play in the National Football League this season.

If the Steelers decide not to place any tag on Bell this off-season, the 26-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent. Conner sustained a head injury in the Steelers' Week 10 win over the Carolina Panthers but, according to reports, the Steelers are confident he'll be ready to play Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In support of the guy who replaced him, no less.

"It's tough for me to give a good perspective because I'm not looking back and seeing the defensive line, but I think that's partially due to the reason, due to the fact that I felt a little rush out there", he added. But he added the team understands there is a business element to Bell's decision to stay away.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin was also decidedly not making a pitch for Bell to come back on Tuesday.

"So be it", Tomlin said. He was sacked three times and sat out the final seven minutes of the game, replaced by Brian Hoyer.

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The Steelers explored dealing Bell before the October 30 trade deadline, but no deal was possible without his signature.

When Bell and the Steelers failed to reach an agreement on a new deal last summer, he said "both sides worked extremely hard" in an attempt to get something done.

The team has been largely quiet but it seemed cautiously optimistic Bell would find his way back to the Steelers but it never materialized.

Bell said the same to his career with the Steelers, likely severing ties to the team by taking a hard-line stance on refusing to play on a second franchise tag. The first two, linebacker Karlos Dansby and quarterback Kirk Cousins, played all 16 games during their second season under the tag then went and cashed in elsewhere in free agency.

It's as close to breaking a sweat with the Steelers as Bell will get.

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