Le'Veon Bell

Drawing from my own NFL experiences and assessing Bell's current standing in this league, I think the three-time Pro Bowler has earned the right to receive a big payday - and sitting out until November 13 gives him the best opportunity to do that as a free agent next March. Although Bell is one of the NFL's most valuable, versatile and, therefore, hardest-to-replace players, Pittsburgh is fortunate to have an offense capable of handling Bell's absence for multiple games.

"I just felt confident that he was gonna come", center Maurkice Pouncey said Wednesday.

But the frustration has now leaked into the locker room to the point where players now appear to be on management's side - or at least they're not respecting the way Bell is going about his holdout, seemingly leaving many of them in the dark on his plans. "This is a team unit and that's how we play ball".

Since then, Bell has continued to hold out from joining any team training camp sessions or preseason games. They're now letting him know that. Either way, if you have him on your roster, you need to play him against the Cleveland Browns this week.


After all, few people saw the Khalil Mack trade coming together as quickly as it did, and the Steelers are now talking up Bell's would-be replacement, James Conner.

Pittsburgh's confidence in Conner is not just lip service for the "next man up". Pittsburgh placed the franchise tag on Bell each time.

Bell has not stepped foot in the Steelers' facilities in nearly eight months.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger understands the constant questions about Bell but added "one person doesn't make or break you".


That's a scenario that's starting to make sense, especially after Bell's agent, Adisa Bakari, told Sirius XM NFL Radio "you can read in-between those lines" that wear and tear is a concern for his client, who had a career-high 406 touches last season. The former Pitt star is in line to make his first National Football League start on Sunday and he's not too concerned about the circumstances that made it happen. "At this point, we got [James] Conner".

I agree that you need to earn all the money and security for you and your family but there is a time and a place for everything.

Bell has not signed his $14.5 million franchise tender and can not play until he does so.

Whatever Bell's plan is, he isn't telling. "We'd like to have him out there, but we have guys that can make plays for us".


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