With the NFL money tree dropping major green on several superstars this offseason, LeVeon Bell also deserves to get paid.
Getting franchise tagged and paid well for one season just isnt what Bell had in mind this time.
Its been well documented that Pittsburgh’s all-purpose, superstar back wants to see some Todd Gurley money and wants to feel the same love Odell Beckham Jr. — a dude who didnt even play last season — got from his teammates and fans when the blonde bomber threatened to hold out before Big Blue blessed him with a record-breaking contract.
For some reason, Bell doesnt get that love. Not even from his own teammates who basically turned on him after he failed to show up for camp.
“He f—ed us,” one veteran told ESPN as he walked out of the locker room on Wednesday.
I don’t think Ive ever seen a superstar thrown under the bus worse than Bell. The owners dont even have to consider coughing up the dough when everyone on the team is basically supporting the Steelers short-arms, deep pockets approach. The reaction by the players didn’t sit well with some media heads.
Maurice Jones-Drew on Twitter
It’s funny to see all the @steelers players voice their opinion today about @LeVeonBell not showing up. But where were theses voices when the Steelers didn’t get his deal done? Where were the voices during OTAs and mini camp? Why wait until now?
Booger on Twitter
If u mad with LeVeon Bell u shouldnt be , be angry at the organization. They made the decision not to get a deal done. Bell isn’t just a running back he is a playmaker. So for all the Steeler players who pissed at Bell don’t be he just trying to get his.
Omar Kelly on Twitter
Every Steelers player who spoke on LeVeon Bell’s BUSINESS situation owes that man an apology. They broke the one rule that’s sacred in the NFL.
Big Ben Roethlisberger chimed in as well and began distancing himself from Bell, telling the media that the Steelers are more than one guy and touting the talents of Bells backup James Connor.
“James is a year better than he was last year at this time,” Big Ben told ESPN. “So I think we’re all excited for what he can bring to this offense and this team. We’ve got a lot of weapons. We’d like [Bell] out there, but we’ve got guys who can make plays for us.”
According to sources, Bells Steelers teammates thought he would sign the franchise tender and be in camp to get ready for opening day against the Cleveland Browns. Bells agent told NFL Live that Bell will not be reporting without a long-term deal in place and he’s going to do whatever it takes to protect his long-term value.
When Bell didnt show up on Wednesday thats when the Steelers players started sticking their noses in the next mans business. A bunch of Steelers players including offensive linemen Maurkice Pouncey and Ramon Foster were quite critical of Bell not reporting in time to prepare for the Week 1 game.
Zesty NFL Steelers on Twitter
Maurkice Pouncey on LeVeon Bells absence: Honestly its a little selfish https://t.co/xFfzXygJj4
“If you don’t want to be here, it is what it is. Hold out 10 weeks,” center Maurkice Pouncey said.
On Monday, Pouncey told ESPN that Bell would show up to work on Wednesday, and to “count on it.”
“I just felt confident that he was gonna come,” Pouncey said Wednesday, “But now that he didn’t, obviously it’s Le’Veon over the Steelers, and we’re the Steelers and we’re going to play as the Steelers. … Now when it’s game time and you that you have $14 million looming out there, and you’re still not here and your team really wants you here?…
Foster basically clowned Bells refusal to sign his $14.5 million franchise tag, which allows him to become a free agent in 2019 as long as he signs it by Week 11.
Ramon Foster on Twitter
Bells agent, Adisa Bakari, got real cocky with it when he told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday that his client is a once-in-a-generation talent who will “get there when he’s there” and still intends to make this the best statistical season of his career.
Hes right about Bells talents. The sixth-year backs average of 128.9 total yards per game is the highest clip for a player’s first five seasons since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. For some strange reason, it seems as if Bells agent is the only one in his corner on this issue. Its rare that players side with the billionaire owners rather than their star teammate in contentious contract negotiations like these.
Brandon Stokley on Twitter
Steelers players need to worry about themselves and not @LeVeonBell. Let that man handle his personal business. As a NFL player that’s a big no no. They should be supporting him percent. It’s becoming clear why they’ve so underperformed the last few years
Nobody on the Giants spilled a negative word about OBJ when he was negotiating and threatening to hold out, which makes me hypothesize that Bell’s teammates must not care for him much. Or maybe they are sour because he told them hed be there behind closed doors and continues to sit out. In any event, its weird. Beyond negotiating a long-term deal, LeVeon Bell should be asking himself if he even wants to return to Pittsburgh because its cold as ice up in that locker room, even with a heat wave rolling through.