No, the headline is not a typo. I wish it was because Le’Veon Bell is one of my favorite running backs to watch. His combination of speed, catching ability and vision is impressive as it is. However, the trait that makes Bell unique from other backs is his incredible patience in the backfield. He waits for a hole to open up and exploits it the second he has the chance. This All-Pro running back will not be playing in 2018.
After refusing to be franchise tagged for the second consecutive year, Bell became ineligible to play in 2018. This became official after 4 p.m. Nov. 13. He likely won’t be in a Pittsburgh uniform in 2019.
Because of Bell’s actions, his teammates raided his locker after he failed to report to the team. They removed his number 26 nameplate, and linebacker Bud Dupree took two pairs of Jordan cleats. I guess the “Steelers” is the perfect team for these guys.
This makes me irritated. It’s not right to do that despite what Bell did. You have to look at it from his perspective. He didn’t want to get franchise tagged for the second year in a row. He warned them about it too, yet they still proceeded with the offer.
I understand why he wouldn’t want to report. He wanted to save his body and energy for a long-term contract, and that’s something the Steelers weren’t willing to give him. Why they didn’t is beyond me. He’s been a top-three running back ever since his 2014 breakout season.
However, he did give away a lot of money and a pretty good gig. He lost about $14 million by not signing. He also might have just blown a chance to play for one of the best teams in the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers spoil their running backs with excellent offensive linemen and other complementary offensive weapons. They consistently make the playoffs and are almost always a Super Bowl contender as long as Ben Roethlisberger is on the team. What Bell did was officially hand the torch to James Conner, who will now be the leader of the Steelers backfield. The team Bell signs with next likely won’t be as good as Pittsburgh. There were speculations earlier in the season that he would possibly sign with the New York Jets. This obviously didn’t happen, but the Jets? Are you kidding? You’re not making the playoffs in New York. Maybe in like five years when Sam Darnold isn’t playing like a rookie, but you’ll be 32 at that point. You want a ring now, while you’re in your prime. Pittsburgh is the place to do that.
Regardless of all this, Bell is still in the NFL making millions of dollars. He’ll make millions more once he gets a legit three or four-year deal with another team, so I doubt he really cares about the losses he took. I’m just glad I didn’t use my first-round pick on him in my fantasy football league.