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Steelers' Bell doesn't report, to sit entire season
14 November 2018, 01:49 | Tracey Rhodes
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The back and forth regarding whether or not Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell will play this season seems to have been resolved.
"Bell will become an unrestricted free agent this winter, when the bidding for his services will begin".
Bell had lost out on $8.5 million in wages for the 2018 season already and will now lose out on an additional $6 million.
Regardless of what happens next offseason, it has drawn a curtain on the Bell drama that has dragged on in Pittsburgh all season long as speculation has swirled for months about when he would rejoin the Steelers. Bell's replacement, James Conner, ranks second in the National Football League with 1,158 yards from scrimmage and has reached the endzone 11 times.
Asked about the possibility of Bell not showing, Tomlin said: "So be it".
The anger eased as the weeks passed and Conner thrived in Bell's absence while Bell remained in Florida, where encounters captured on social media found him riding a Jet Ski or hitting the club.
Le'Veon Bell looks on during a game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Steelers are unlikely to place a much more costly third straight franchise tag on Bell, but could instead opt for a transition tag. If he signed a lucrative deal elsewhere, the Steelers would receive a midround compensatory draft pick. He also leads the league with eight runs of 20-plus yards. Conner suffered a concussion in Thursday's win over the Panthers, but is expected to clear protocol this week. But this time, Bell didn't show up in September. Guard Ramon Foster and center Maurkice Pouncey both labeled the move selfish.
Things have cooled since then, and many had said they'd welcome Bell back.
Bell, who will turn 27 in February, had been training in South Florida and in July tweeted this season would be his "best to date".
Up until late last week, the Steelers were bracing for the return of Bell, who played basketball at a local LA Fitness last week. "I've told you guys and I've told you guys consistently, a reaction comes from me if and when he walks in the door". "We know he's back in Pittsburgh, and so we're hoping to have some communications with him over the weekend, and we're kind of expecting he will be back next week".
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