Le’Veon Bell might be worth the money he feels he deserves from the Pittsburgh Steelers. But after an offseason of whining and complaining, the season is about to start and head coach Mike Tomlin doesnt want to hear about Bells beefs anymore.
As a coach, he cant allow one player to cause a distraction, monopolize the headlines or distract the team from the fact that they need everyone all in and dedicated to one goal in order to win big this season.
If Bell wants to hold out, thats his choice. Tomlin doesnt award contracts and he has a job to do with or without his No. 1 offensive weapon.
“I am focused on the guys that are here. My mentality regarding Le’Veon would be very similar to the way it was a year ago,” Tomlin said on Wednesday. “Obviously both sides tried in earnest to get a deal done. We weren’t able to do that. Now we transition and move forward to our 2018 season. When he gets here we will evaluate his overall readiness and how much time he missed and see the ramifications of that. Until then, I’m going to be extremely focused on those that are here working and their development. I just think that is appropriate.
Reports say Tomlin has been in contact with Bell on several occasions, but theres no progress being made on getting a deal done. The last two seasons, the Steelers have said no bueno to lacing Bell with a robust, long-term deal and he has been very public with his demands.
The reality of the situation is running backs just aren’t valued like that in todays game — even those with wide receiver skills to match their rushing prowess.
Todd Gurley’s 4-year extension worth $60 million that includes $45 million guaranteed has only added more fuel to Bell’s fire.
And they offered @LeVeonBell 10mil guaranteed. Fake 70 mil contract Shame on them! https://t.co/QThFN7LsQL
So in the meantime, while he plays poker with the Steelers and enjoys an extended offseason rather than report to camp, Bell has taken his free time to record a rap album. That seems to be a theme with players who hold out or get suspended for lengthy periods of time.
When Metta World Peace, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest, was suspended for The Malice at the Palace, he recorded an album during his free time. Athletes are artists in a sense, so when their only means of expression is taken from them, they have to get their artistic fix in some way.
I owe all my fans since it’s “Wins Day”…my new single is here! https://t.co/LFo3fsufvy
The Steelers have never been an organization that overpays players or allows one guy to disrupt their salary structure. Tomlin would love to have Bell in the backfield when the season begins, but it doesnt look like thats going to happen.
So Tomlin, who is already on the hot seat for his recent playoff failure, has to forget about Bell, hopes he comes around eventually and get focused on helping the Steelers win another 13 games and this time advance further in the playoffs.
“I want to stay focused on the guys that are here,” Tomlin uttered in a not-so-subtle suggestion that he’s done with all Bell curiosities. “Respectfully, that is going to be my position.”
Looks as if the Steelers are ready to play hard ball and sit this one out with Bell. Once the season begins, if the Steelers are doing well, no one will care what Bell thinks. But if Big Ben is having trouble getting the offense going, the fans could force the Steelers to appease Bell and bless him with the contract he feels he deserves.
The saga continues in Pittsburgh.