The Pittsburgh Steelers continue to clash with their superstar in the backfield, running back Le'Veon Bell.
Prior to the start of the 2017 National Football League regular season Bell and the Steelers had a very public dispute after the team made the decision to use their franchise tag on Bell, depriving him of the possibility of signing a longer term deal. Bell was obviously furious at the decision last season and not only voiced his displeasure publicly but also opted not to attend training camp with the Steelers in protest of the decision from the Steelers organization.
In spite of that however Bell and the Steelers were at least able to see eye to eye long enough in order to get through the regular season, and once again Bell demonstrated that he was one of the most dominant and most durable running backs in the entire National Football League. Bell led the league in carries with 321 and over the course of the season he accumulated 1,291 rushing yards as well as 655 receiving yards on 85 catches and accounted for 11 total touchdowns.
It is not at all a stretch to suggest that Bell ranks among the Steelers most important players and you would think that would result the Steelers doing their best to keep the star running back happy, but the Steelers have always done things their own way. The Steelers failed to reach a long term deal with Bell once again and as a result the team once again opted to franchise tag Bell. To absolutely no one's surprise this has resulted in an unhappy Le'Veon Bell once again and when you consider the way the man sacrifices his body game in and game out for this organization I have to admit I find it very difficult to blame Bell here.
On Tuesday Le'Veon Bell's agent, Adisa Bakari, was a guest on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Tuesday when he was asked about how his client would deal with this latest move from the Steelers. When asked point blank if Bell would once again forgo training cramp as a result of the franchise tag Bakari confirmed that was indeed the plan moving forward.
“Barring something exceptional … that is correct,” Bakari said.
That will almost certainly be extremely frustrating for Steeler fans' as a result of what happened in 2017. There is no question that Bell's slow start to the season was a direct result of his decision to skip camp and it looks like he is lining himself up for a similar situation in 2018. That being said though Bell plays one of thew most physically demanding positions in the entire league and the lifespan of an NFL running back is shockingly short, so it's painfully obvious why he insists on getting some kind of long term security from the Steelers.
The other side of the coin though is that the Steelers are also very aware of this fact and as a result they are hesitant to give a ton of guaranteed money to a guy who could break down at any moment. Unfortunately it seems like this battle is far from over.
Photo Credit: Keystone Press