Le'Veon Bell Reportedly Spotted in Pittsburgh Gym Amid Steelers Contract DisputeNovember 7, 2018
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell played basketball at an LA Fitness gym in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler reported Wednesday.
According to Fowler, "there was no indication" Bell met with Steelers officials at the team's facilities before or after his trip to the gym to work out.
According to The MMQB's Andrew Brandt, Bell has already lost out on $7.7 million in earnings from his $14.5 million, one-year franchise tender.
Fowler noted Bell has until Tuesday to report to the Steelers before he's unable to play at all during the 2018 season. The Athletic's Mark Kaboly reported Tuesday that the three-time Pro Bowler may sit out the entire year, citing a potential contractual benefit he'd receive under the collective bargaining agreement.
Mark Kaboly @MarkKaboly
▪️Le'Veon Bell is FA in '19 regardless if he shows. Has enough accrued seasons to be FA in '19 even though he won't get one this year. ▪️Will be on 3rd franchise tag next year of top 5 highest paid ($25M+) even if he doesn't show b/c he's been tagged twice before @TheAthleticPGH
Since Bell is due a pay raise no matter what, turning his attention to the 2019 campaign wouldn't ultimately stop him from achieving the 26-year-old's goal of getting a bigger contract with more long-term financial security.
Prior to the Steelers' 23-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, head coach Mike Tomlin declined to speak in depth about Bell's holdout, per ESPN.com's Dianna Russini.
The Steelers haven't exactly missed Bell in the backfield. Second-year back James Conner has run for 706 yards and nine touchdowns while catching 38 passes for 379 yards and a touchdown. It would appear Pittsburgh can feel confident about rolling with Conner as its starting running back in 2019.
With Bell's deadline to commit rapidly approaching, at least the drama about his short-term future won't continue for much longer.