Le’Veon Bell Ruled Ineligible For Rest Of The Season

Le’Veon Bell Ruled Ineligible For Rest Of The Season

Javier Howell
November 14, 2018

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert released a brief statement regarding today's development that reads, "I want to confirm that Le'Veon Bell did not sign his Franchise Tender today and, as a result, he will not be eligible to play football during the 2018 season".

A few hours before the deadline, head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Tuesday that Bell hadn't returned a text message or phone call from him.

"Even when we don't understand it, we're sensitive to it, so we're not shocked when things happen from a business standpoint, no", Tomlin said.

The Steelers will move forward with second-year back James Conner as the starter.

"So be it", Tomlin said. "We're comfortable with how we function, the people at our disposal, the division of labour and our ability to ready ourselves for the challenges". If he signed a lucrative deal elsewhere, the Steelers would receive a midround compensatory draft pick. He took it a step further this year by missing games after turning down a five-year, $70 million offer because of what Bell calls a low true guarantee of $17 million.

And so, we appear to be at the end of Bell's career in Pittsburgh.

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Bell's season-long holdout potentially could be risky. His goal also seems to include preserving his body as he goes into free agency. Bell held out the entire summer as the two sides failed to agree to an extension. When it didn't happen, he skipped training camp again, just as he did in 2017. But this time, Bell didn't show up in September.

Only he didn't. And when preparations for Pittsburgh's Week 1 trip to Cleveland began without Bell, several of his teammates - particularly the offensive line - vented their frustrations publicly.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported 15 minutes before the deadline that Bell wouldn't be showing up. He returned to Pittsburgh last week and even played some pickup basketball at a fitness centre.

Bell's saga with the Steelers is over.

The Steelers are unlikely to place a much more costly third straight franchise tag on Bell, but could instead opt for a transition tag. In support of the guy who replaced him, no less.