Le’Veon Bell’s Actions Betray Loyalty To Steelers

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PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 10: Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on December 10, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

Because of their contentious nature there’s almost nothing more frustrating than contract negotiations. These types of negotiations rarely transpire in a smooth manner and they create periods of stress and uncertainty for the parties involved. The goal of the employee is to get paid as much as they possibly can. The company’s goal is to pay no more than what they deem to be fair wage.

Le’Veon Bell’s Actions Betray His Desire To Retire With Pittsburgh Steelers

The bottom line is that it’s always about the money, and that is the ugly side, the business side, of any industry. It’s rarely publicized. Contract negotiations in the NFL are a completely different story. The whole world knows what is transpiring with Le’Veon Bell. Bell, who’s been hit with the exclusive rights franchise tag for the second straight year, is looking for a long term deal. He says he wants to remain with and retire as a Pittsburgh Steeler, but Bell’s actions as of late betray that desire.

Bell’s Destiny

Bell’s mother told him he was destined to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers prior to the 2013 NFL Draft. The Steelers fulfilled her prophecy, making Bell the 48th overall selection. Bell has posted some historic numbers during his first five years in the Steel City. He’s ranked first all-time with an average of 128.9 total yards per game, and is averaging 1,599 total yards per season. Overall, Bell is averaging 308 total touches per season for over five yards per touch. That’s a lot of yards for a player who is just 25 years old, which translates to a lot of punishment as well. Knee injuries in back-to-back seasons, at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals, is proof of that. He has served suspensions for drug issues in back-to-back seasons as well.

The Steelers have stood by him and want a long term deal to get done with Bell. They aren’t holding his suspensions, or past injuries against him. Art Rooney II is negotiating strictly on production. Bell says he wants to be with the Steeler for life. Both parties expressed these same sentiments last season. In fact, the Steelers and Bell’s agent agreed to a deal, which Bell promptly rejected. Perhaps he was serious when he rapped about wanting $15 million per year, although he denied that number as being accurate. It’s a unique situation to say the least, but is Bell negotiating in good faith? Is his loyalty to the Steelers as deep as he claims? Bell’s actions don’t really line up with his “desire” to be a Steeler for life.

Calculated Statements Have a Duel Purpose

Hines WardJerome BettisAaron Smith, and Brett Keisel wanted to be Steelers their entire careers. They expressed their desires and made it happen. Bell is saying all the right things, but his actions and comments aren’t lining up. There is chance he might actually mean what he says when he talks about wanting to retire a Steeler. Bell is spreading that message all over social media and the fans are eating it up. However, that message rings hollow when he insists he has a number in mind that he’s not backing off of.

Bell has a duel purpose with his “I want to stay with the Steelers” rhetoric. He may actually want to retire a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which fans love to hear. However, if the Rooney’s don’t meet his demands, then they look like the bad guys in the eyes of many. Bell will sign if he truly wants to stay. It’s that simple. The Rooney’s are willing to make Bell the highest paid running back, but is that enough for Bell? The $15 million he has reportedly requested is definitely too much. Bell’s actions don’t necessarily reflect the desires of a man who wants to stay in Pittsburgh.

Remove Emotions and Think Rationally

Bell is the best running back in the league and deserves to be the highest paid at his position. He had a career high 321 carries last season and didn’t look nearly as explosive as in the past. Bell barely averaged 4.0 yards per carry. He didn’t run receiver routes as he has in prior years either; he ran mostly bubble screens and slants in 2017. Bell has racked up 308 touches per season during his career. How quickly will the wear and tear start showing? It’s possible it has begun to effect him already.

Last Word on Le’Veon Bell

Is it more important to keep Bell, or fix other needs the team has? It would be great to accomplish both, but what if the Steelers have to choose between the two options? That is just what it may come down to. It would be better to celebrate a Super Bowl win without Bell than to keep coming up short with him. If Bell wants to remain a Steeler for life like he says, he will work with the Rooney’s and Omar Khan to make it happen. If not, this will be his final season in Pittsburgh, and proof Bell’s actions never matched his desire to stay.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Very well-written article. It will be interesting to see, if he comes on board, how he performs. Teams are getting clued in to his running style, which caused him to adjust somewhat as the season wore on. The “hit the hole” style also affects the line. They have to power block rather than zone block, and did so when Conner spelled him. So when they find linebackers are hanging back, will the team change its base scheme, and will he flourish as a more typical back?

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