Mike Tomlin on Le'Veon Bell Contract Situation: We Need Volunteers, Not Hostages

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 4, 2018

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14:  Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin didn't sound concerned about Le'Veon Bell's ongoing holdout.

Speaking to ESPN's Dianna Russini on Sunday NFL Countdown, Tomlin described the situation with Bell by saying the Steelers "need volunteers, not hostages."

Dianna Russini @diannaESPN

“We need volunteers— not hostages” Mike Tomlin refreshingly honest on Bell and game ready to beat the Ravens #Steelers https://t.co/zDzFe8nsU5

It's unclear when, or if, Bell will sign his franchise tender and report to the Steelers.

ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler reported Oct. 2 that Bell was expected back at some point between the team's bye in Week 7 and game against the Cleveland Browns in Week 8.

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Steelers hadn't heard anything from Bell as recently as Oct. 21.

Bell has until Nov. 13 to report and get credit for a contract year so he can become a free agent in the offseason, according to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio. If he chooses not to do that, the Steelers would be able to offer Bell the same $14.5 million franchise tag he received this year and try to trade him.

One reason Tomlin doesn't need to worry about Bell's absence is the emergence of James Conner. The 23-year-old ranks third in the NFL with 599 rushing yards and eighth among running backs with 323 receiving yards.