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SportWhy Pittsburgh Steelers should leave Le'Veon Bell on bench if he reports

16:16  09 november  2018
16:16  09 november  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

Report: Le'Veon Bell 'Not Expected' to Play in Week 10 vs. Panthers, May Sit Out Entire Season

Report: Le'Veon Bell 'Not Expected' to Play in Week 10 vs. Panthers, May Sit Out Entire Season Report: Le'Veon Bell 'Not Expected' to Play in Week 10 vs. Panthers, May Sit Out Entire Season

Why Le ' Veon Bell 's run with the Steelers appears to be over. play. Steelers listening to offers on Bell (1:05). Adam Schefter reports that Pittsburgh Bell is on jet skis and hosting album release parties in South Florida. Even if he were to get football-ready, does returning for the final seven weeks of the

The Pittsburgh Steelers are open to offers for star running back Le ' Veon Bell , but no trade talks have advanced to a serious stage at this time Meanwhile, Bell 's continued absence from Pittsburgh has raised questions about what his future salary could and would be if the Steelers , or any team that

Video by Sports Illustrated

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers are cooking. So why potentially mess with a recipe that's working by introducing an ingredient that could ruin the whole meal?

Though the AFC North leaders just stormed to a fifth consecutive victory Thursday night by throttling the Carolina Panthers 52-21 at Heinz Field, they'll almost certainly face a pivotal dilemma in the coming days: What to do with Le'Veon Bell, who's back in Pittsburgh, assuming he reports to his team by Tuesday — the deadline that will determine whether he plays during the 2018 season?

Le'Veon Bell bids farewell to Florida in cryptic tweet

Le'Veon Bell bids farewell to Florida in cryptic tweet Bell, who will have to end his contract holdout by Nov. 13 in order to accrue an NFL season, hinted that he could soon rejoin the Steelers.

Pro Bowl running back Le ' Veon Bell has yet to sign his franchise tag and join the Pittsburgh Steelers . The Steelers and Bell are in this situation because, for the second straight year, the parties couldn't agree on Bell 's worth before the July 16 deadline to reach a long-term deal with

PITTSBURGH , PA - JANUARY 14: Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le ' Veon Bell (26) signals first down during the AFC Divisional Playoff game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 14, 2018 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pa. (Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon

The possibilities may seem tantalizing.

Imagine an offense that appears to already be operating near maximum capacity bolstered by a dual-threat all-pro. Might Bell and James Conner be an even more imposing tailback tandem than what the Saints enjoy with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram? Could a team averaging 35.4 points during its win streak boost that figure significantly? Would Bell's presence complete a formula that could end this franchise's decade-long quest for its "Stairway to Seven," the next Lombardi Trophy — and one that would give the Steelers two more Super Bowl wins than the Patriots, Cowboys or 49ers.

Answer: I doubt it and think it might be more likely he upsets the whole ingot cart. In fact, if Bell returns, the Steelers might be better off leaving him where he's been all season — in mothballs.

Steelers' Mike Tomlin candid on Le'Veon Bell holdout: 'We need volunteers, not hostages'

Steelers' Mike Tomlin candid on Le'Veon Bell holdout: 'We need volunteers, not hostages' Le'Veon Bell has to report to the Steelers facility by next week if he wants to play at all this season.

The Steelers - Le ' Veon Bell impasse sheds a light on the value of running backs, the Papa John's mess raises some tough questions for a few NFL big 1. The Steelers are Playing a Dangerous Game. There's a number that explains why Steelers running back Le ' Veon Bell will likely miss training camp

Le ' Veon Bell 2018 player profile, game log, season stats, career stats, recent news If you play fantasy sports, get breaking news A couple weeks back, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Bell planned to report during the Week 7 bye, which is now. We'll continue to be on Bell Watch until/ if he does report .

Here's why ...

Chemistry

In a league where players almost never rip peers who are handling their business — contract negotiations — Pittsburgh's locker room was shockingly critical of Bell when he diverted from last year's post-franchise tag plan by opting not to report prior to Week 1. That anger eventually morphed into staunch support and respect for Conner as he helped drive the team up the standings following a 1-2-1 start.

The latest emotion has been frustration over constant questions about the "will he, won't he" scenarios as they pertain to Bell's opaque plans. All-pro guard David DeCastro pretty well summed up it after Sunday's win at Baltimore: "Honestly, no one cares anymore," he said of the Bell dilemma. "Why would I? I don't want to waste the energy."

I asked Ben Roethlisberger directly Thursday night if it would be easier or harder to try and reintegrate a star player into an attack already firing on all cylinders (457 yards against Carolina).

Steelers owner expects Le’Veon Bell to report by Tuesday

Steelers owner expects Le’Veon Bell to report by Tuesday Steelers owner Art Rooney II expects running back Le’Veon Bell to report by next Tuesday’s deadline, as he explained on SiriusXM Radio earlier today (link via Austin Knoblauch of NFL.com). “I don’t know what his plans are, but I would say at this point we expect him to come back next week,” Rooney said. “We know he’s back in Pittsburgh and so we’re hoping to have some communications with him over the weekend and we’re kind of expecting he will be back next week.” Bell must report by Tuesday in order to play in the NFL this season, but whether he reports or not won’t necessarily affect his financial future.

By working the system, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le ' Veon Bell , 26, can return before Week 10 and still become a free agent Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le ' Veon Bell from last January. While his knee mends amid 2-1-1 start, should he R-E-L-A-X? Dan Powers, USA TODAY NETWORK.

Le ' Veon Bell 's return to the Pittsburgh Steelers will be uncomfortable. The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line trashed Bell . And it doesn’t seem far away. He needs to report by Nov. 13 in order to accrue an NFL season, which is important because Bell wants to get one year closer to free agency.

“You know what," Big Ben tersely replied, "I’m not gonna comment on someone that’s not in this locker room right now.”

NFL players are a forgiving lot, and the public message if Bell comes back might be brothers embracing one of their own. But it also seems like it might not be nearly that simple behind closed doors.

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Bell-Conner committee? Really?

It's easy to assume Bell could just plug in alongside Conner, the NFL's second-leading rusher behind Todd Gurley entering Week 10 and a dual threat who has produced at a level wholly comparable with his predecessor's historic levels.

The Steelers have hit high gear with Conner as their workhorse. Yet Bell is also accustomed to being the man, getting a minimum of 336 touches in three of the past four seasons, including an NFL-high 406 in 2017. And there was no sharing last year when Conner was a rookie (he didn't catch one pass and averaged slightly more than two touches per game).

Ravens defensive coordinator absolutely blasts Le’Veon Bell

Ravens defensive coordinator absolutely blasts Le’Veon Bell We’re starting to get an idea about how individuals around the NFL feel when it comes to holdout Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. 

Le ' Veon Bell says he 'd consider sitting out or retiring if tagged again. Le ' Veon Bell . Last July, Bell turned down a long-term contract that reports said was worth up to million in the Asked about leaving a productive career on the table, Bell cited his favorite player growing up, Barry Sanders, who

Le ’ Veon Bell is reportedly back in Pittsburgh . But the disgruntled running back would still apparently rather post tweets than report to the Steelers . A terse Twitter post by Bell on Monday, in which he bade farewell to Miami, where he had been training while holding out from his NFL team, gave many

Bell also hasn't played in this offense under new coordinator Randy Fichtner. Asking Fichtner to incorporate an incoming player geared for a high volume of work at this stage of the season seems unusually disruptive.

"We have stuff rolling as a unit right now," said Steelers tight end Jesse James on Thursday. "But Le'Veon is such a great player. We've all seen what he's done in his previous years.

"But you got to play one day at a time."

In sum, this isn't a situation like New Orleans, where Kamara and Ingram are used to splitting the load — and where Ingram was able to parachute right into Sean Payton's familiar scheme coming off his four-game suspension.

The whole prospect of a timeshare simply looms as problematic for a duo that's never had to do it in the NFL. Conner is young, hungry and hardly needs to be coddled (though he did go into concussion protocol Thursday). Conversely, Bell's camp has been hyperfocused on how much he's used heading into free agency. Yet how would a volatile veteran react if he's getting, say, 35 yards on seven touches while also trying to cement the case someone should pay him at least $15 million annually (Gurley money), and maybe closer to $17 million (Antonio Brown money) given his hybrid skills, next year?

Game ready?

Bell essentially needed the month of September in 2017 to work his way into football shape after missing the entire offseason program, training camp and preseason. He averaged 78.7 yards in those first three games before settling into a groove over his last dozen when he churned out 142.5.

Steelers, Le’Veon Bell move closer to the final deadline

Steelers, Le’Veon Bell move closer to the final deadline Within the next nine days, Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell either will show up, or he won’t. If he does, the Steelers will have Bell to pair with AFC offensive player of the month James Conner. If he doesn’t, the Steelers will have a big decision to make in the offseason. Although it would make [more]

As Le ' Veon Bell continues to stay away from the Pittsburgh Steelers , the team does not plan to trade the star running back or rescind his franchise tag, sources told ESPN. Although Bell is constantly evaluating when to report , multiple sources around the league believe that he will join the Steelers

PITTSBURGH -- Le ' Veon Bell plans to play in 2018, either under the franchise tag or a long-term contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers . He told ESPN on Monday that retirement is still an option, or that the Steelers might not see him until Week 10, the deadline for picking up an accrued season and

Yet how long would it take him to harden his armor and find his rhythm in a platoon role — especially since he last played competitive football Jan. 14, Pittsburgh's divisional playoff loss to Jacksonville? Certainly, given Conner's presence and output, Bell couldn't reasonably expect the 25-30 touches he's historically gotten while trying to reach his peak level.

Running backs also have a troublesome track record of breaking down after holdouts. Just ask Larry Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson or Jamal Anderson.

The Steelers might just have to put Bell through a de facto November training camp during midweek practices to get him sufficiently calloused and — potentially — ready for action. Which brings me to a final point.

The Steelers still control Bell's future

Bell can issue all the cryptic tweets and social media rationales he wants. But at the end of the day, he's completely mismanaged this situation. By finally showing up, he'll take home nearly $6 million the rest of the year ... and that means he will have left about $8.5 million on the table.

As for the opportunity he so desperately covets to test the open market and has tried to orchestrate? It still may not be up to him.

The Steelers could choose to franchise Bell a third time in 2019, as prohibitive as that might be. They could also try to slap the less pricey transition tag on him — that would theoretically invite several suitors since they wouldn't risk losing first-round draft picks to pry Bell loose — but would also allow Pittsburgh the opportunity to match any offer.

The Steelers are in first place with James Conner. What happens if Le’Veon Bell returns?

The Steelers are in first place with James Conner. What happens if Le’Veon Bell returns? Conner, Bell’s replacement at running back, had a huge performance in Sunday’s win over the Browns. Bell could return after Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.

Le ' Veon Bell stayed home another day, and teammates were livid. Where will this stalemate go? The Steelers can rescind the tag and send Bell gleefully into free agency, but I'm told they definitely Why is the team really frustrated, beyond the obvious? Because they felt Bell should have told them of his

PITTSBURGH -- Running back Le ' Veon Bell said he would like to be back with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018, but he left open the possibility The All-Pro running back told ESPN on Friday that he was prepared to sit out the season or even retire if he is franchise-tagged for a second straight year.

And that could mean the Steelers might ultimately let one of those tags dictate Bell's salary (again), then find a way to fit him into next year's salary structure — Pittsburgh currently has roughly $20 million in cap space for 2019 — before finding the best deal they can while shipping him to the location of their choosing ... unless, of course, Bell wants to waste another year of his prime by sitting out.

But if the Rooney family, general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin are mulling such deep state options, how much incentive would they have to expose such an asset to injury — one who's been largely motivated by self-interest in recent years — who could drastically change the organization's long-term planning calculus if he's only going to be little more than a rotational back in 2018? Seems preferable to just let Bell take some licks on the practice field — get him ready to go in case Conner suffers a significant injury — but otherwise keep the 26-year-old encased behind emergency glass.

It could be the approach that's ultimately best for all parties.

Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.

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Why Pittsburgh Steelers should leave Le'Veon Bell on bench if he reports

Le'Veon Bell reportedly spotted at Pittsburgh-area health club.
Le’Veon Bell reportedly has yet to touch base with the Pittsburgh Steelers amid his protracted absence, but his return to the team could be imminent given the disgruntled star was purportedly spotted at a local health club. A manager for an L.A. Fitness in North Pittsburgh has confirmed to ESPN that Bell was at the health club playing pickup basketball on Tuesday night. Photographs and video have surfaced on social media amid Bell’s sighting, one of  which certainly appears to be legitimate. Local Rapper Leveon Bell spotted at LA fitness running 5’s with pedestrians pic.twitter.

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