Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Bell Bails Out for Now But Divorce with Steelers Not Final

By missing practice again on the first day of in-earnest preparation for Sunday’s regular-season opener at Cleveland, the Steelers running back officially put himself before the team in the eyes of his teammates.

Embed from Getty Images

The initial reaction was as emotional as it gets, and expressed equal parts disappointment, disillusionment, disbelief and disgust.

But Le’Veon Bell still isn’t persona non grata among Steelers.

By missing practice again on Wednesday, the first day of in-earnest preparation for Sunday’s regular-season opener at Cleveland, Bell officially put himself before the team in the eyes of his teammates.

And that’s Conduct Unbecoming in an NFL locker room.

“At this point, go ahead and miss 10 (weeks),” center Maurkice Pouncey insisted.

Bell can miss a lot more than Browns week and still position himself to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019 (he has to be on the active roster or the reserve-injured list at full pay for six games to earn an accrued season, according to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with its players).​

Pouncey admitted he thought Bell was going to show up on Wednesday all along.

Even after Bell had skipped all offseason and preseason team activities, including training camp for a second consecutive season.

Even after Bell had neglected to sign his one-year franchise tender and participate in practice on Monday.

Even after the Steelers had issued a statement on Monday announcing they were “disappointed” in Bell.

Wednesday was supposed to be the day the Steelers and Bell would at last turn the page, the day Bell would finally reunite with his teammates.

“Now that he didn’t, obviously, it’s Le’Veon over the Steelers,” Pouncey announced.

That’s unacceptable from the Steelers’ perspective.

But it won’t be a deal-breaker.​

Pouncey and guard Ramon Foster threw the words “selfish,” and “disheartening,” and “pissed off” around while reacting to the latest turn of events in the ongoing Bell saga.

They weren’t ranting, raving or foaming at the mouth.

But they likewise left nothing to interpretation or imagination.

Foster even included a recount of text messages from a couple of the offensive linemen asking Bell when he intended to report, an exchange that had taken place prior to the preseason finale against Carolina.

“He hit us with an, ‘I don’t even know,’” Foster said.

To teammates in the process of getting ready for the regular season and Cleveland, that was insulting.

The amount of money Bell is potentially leaving on the table to stay away, meanwhile, is almost unfathomable.

The franchise tag was, and still is worth $14.55 million for 16 games of service.

Bell will forfeit $856,000 for every regular-season week he misses.

“Pay me $14 million, OK?” Foster offered. “Who’s not gonna do that?”

Bell, apparently, at least for as long as he can get away with it.

The end game is unrestricted free agency.

Assuming he isn’t willing to risk sitting out the entire season and then hope the Steelers ultimately rescind the franchise tag, Bell has to report eventually.

“I don’t know how well that’s gonna go,” Foster maintained.

Defensive end Cam Heyward does.

“If he gets on the bus later, so be it,” Heyward maintained. “The bus makes stops. We’re all about winning. If he’s going to be a part of it, be a part of it.

“Until then, we’ll keep moving.”

Such a cooler-heads-will-prevail-eventually sentiment was already gaining momentum in the locker room as early as Thursday afternoon.

“No hard feelings, it just is what it is,” insisted guard David DeCastro, who just a day earlier had suggested Bell should stay away all season if he wasn’t going to participate in Cleveland week. “Le’Veon’s not here, so we’ve gotta go out and show we can do it without him.

“We like Le’Veon.”

They’ll like him even more once he resumes carrying the ball.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Perspectives: Finding Grace in #MomLife

A Pittsburgh television reporter learns to embrace the imperfection that comes with being a working mom.

The 400-Word Review: Pledge

IFC Midnight's collegiate terror tale is mostly for genre fans, but it lands a few decent punches.

Capel’s Basketball Resurrection Has the Zoo Rocking Again

Head coach Jeff Capel is restoring respectability and re-establishing the relationship between Pitt’s students and Pitt’s student athletes.

Why Did No One Tell Me Cirque du Soleil is Awesome

A skeptical novice takes in the troupe's "Corteo" production and is stunned at his own delight.

Three Rivers Champion: Julius Boatwright

Boatwright works to connect everyone who needs it with mental health support.

Turkey Devonshire: Reviving a Classic Pittsburgh Sandwich

The once-famous sandwich originated here but now is largely forgotten. We dive into its history and argue that it's time for a revival.

Navigating the Future of Public Transit in Pittsburgh

Six Pittsburghers share their struggles and hopes for the region’s public transit system.

Why Jamison Farm Is a “A Napa Valley for Sheep”

How a former coal miner and his wife use the resources atop rolling Westmoreland County hills to produce the best lamb in the United States.

Pittsburgh Restaurant Review: Fish nor Fowl

The sixth standalone concept from the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group, is DeShantz’s most exciting restaurant yet.

Our 50 Years: When We Tried to Predict the Future

25 years ago, we predicted what the Pittsburgh of 2019 would look like. We were ... close?

Help Pay Tribute to a Pittsburgh Jazz Legend

Mary Lou Williams began as a teenage piano prodigy in the Hill District and made it to Carnegie Hall and beyond. This month, you can discover her musical legacy.

Their's was a Starry-Eyed Pittsburgh Romance

John Brashear dedicated his life to science — and his wife, Phoebe.

She Became Pittsburgh Radio Royalty by Making Music Matter

Rosemary Welsch, longtime DJ and senior producer at WQEP-FM, has shepherded the station from startup to institution.

He Tries to be a Blessing to Someone Every Day

Doug Williams helps men facing homelessness with hard work — and example.

Restaurant Road Trip: Why It's Worth Stopping at Zack's

It’s worth driving to New Bethlehem for a locally sourced meal in an unexpected location.