Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell has long been outspoken about the franchise tag and has threatened to miss games or even retire if the Steelers placed it on him for a second time this season.
Well, the team placed the tag on him on Tuesday valued at around $14.5 million next season, leaving Bell with a decision. Will the Pro Bowl running back miss time next season?
Bell went on Instagram Live Wednesday night and addressed the issue.
“Honestly no, I am not going to sit out,” he said. “I am going to be in the facility Week 1.”
Bell muddied the waters a bit during the Instagram session, saying that he didn’t know if would join the team in Week 1 or Week 4. But he also expressed a desire to not miss any playing time.
“It’s just a re-run of last year,” he said of a 2017 season where he sat out training camp but played in Week 1.
So that settles that, it seems. Bell and the Steelers still have the option to work out a long-term deal, but if they don’t, Bell doesn’t appear ready to miss time.
Bell would make considerably more than any other NFL running back playing under the tag, but at 26 years old, he is seeking long-term security in the face of the typical short shelf-life of a running back.
Bell told ESPN before Tuesday’s franchise tag deadline that he has no intention of giving the Steelers a home-town discount.
“We’re not coming to a number we both agree on — they are too low, or I guess they feel I’m too high,” Bell said. “I’m playing for strictly my value to the team. That’s what I’m asking. I don’t think I should settle for anything less than what I’m valued at.”
In the end, the lure of $14.5 million appeared to be too strong to turn down.
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