On Wednesday, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported the New York Jets are concerned about the impending free agent's physical status because "word on the street" suggested Bell, who's listed at 6'1'' and 225 pounds on the Steelers' official roster, gained 35 pounds during his year off.
The 27-year-old Michigan State product may have "lost most of his extra baggage by now," however, and is seeking a contract worth $48 million over the first three years, per Mehta.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert announced Wednesday the team isn't going to use either the franchise or transition tag on Bell, allowing him to hit the open market in March.
"Le'Veon is still a great player," Colbert told reporters. "We can't afford to use any other type of tags. Le'Veon will be an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year."
Bell responded with a Martin Luther King Jr.-inspired Twitter post:
The Ohio native has been one of the position's most dynamic players since Pittsburgh selected him in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.
He tallied 5,336 rushing yards and 2,660 receiving yards with 42 total touchdowns across 62 appearances in five years with the Steelers.
"He has his eyes on the Colts, no doubt about that," a source told SNY. "He sees [quarterback Andrew] Luck and that offense and all that cap room and they're much closer than the Jets. He wants to go someplace he can win right away."
Every team in the offseason sweepstakes will likely want to see what type of physical condition the star rusher is in after a year off before signing him to a lucrative long-term deal, though.