Le'Veon Bell says next year is 'irrelevant' after franchise tag comments

Hope Soto
January 14, 2018

Le'Veon Bell is prepared to pull out all the stops with the Steelers to make sure he isn't franchise tagged again, even if it means not playing. Bell explained that his plan was in full motion.

I cringed when I heard about the ESPN report by Jeremy Fowler saying Le'Veon Bell told him he would consider (consider!) holding out or retiring after this season if the Steelers placed the franchise tag on him again. Now, I've done everything but own a Super Bowl. He even went so far as to suggest retirement should the Steelers attempt to franchise tag him again. It's a more than fair point. He's comfortable delivering his message now because, for one, he's ready to catalyze a playoff push. Perhaps it was his way of trying to show how committed he is to wanting to stay in Pittsburgh for the long-haul and win it all this year. He could touch the ball 30 or more times against the Jaguars. If I am playing this game, I want to set standards for all the other running backs behind me, like Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon, guys like that. Given that he left $18 million in guaranteed money on the table in 2017 it's reasonable to think that his thinking hasn't wavered.

"It's about leaving a legacy". The All-Pro back reiterated that he just wants to be properly valued. So, he upped his recovery regimen to ensure it. Bell has 7,996 total yards through 62 career games, which is the most of any NFL player over that span since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, outdistancing Eric Dickerson (7,842), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

However, Bell has told ESPN that he's prepared to sit out a season, or even retire from the National Football League, if he is franchise tagged for the second consecutive year. "And I always try to keep a chip on my shoulder". This was not just because of the position he plays in running back, but his previous substance abuse issues. That leaves it up to the Steelers to avoid the franchise tag and offer Bell a contract he can't refuse. This will have no bearing on the outcome of Sunday's game.

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Bell does not now count against the cap, so adding more than $14 million would cripple them quite a bit.

Bell said he'd "probably be done" playing football if he sat out the entire season.

Bell might laugh with teammates on that, but don't laugh at his words.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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