Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell will be playing on the franchise tag once again in 2018 after failing to agree to a long-term deal with Pittsburgh before Monday’s 4:00 p.m. ET deadline. Bell is fighting against the NFL’s disdain for paying premiere running backs at the level their skillset demands. Bell and the Steelers have never been shy about the criticism of the Bengals and Bengals players. Without a deal in place, Bell could easily blame the Bengals and some Bengals players for his contract situation, right?
Here are 3 ways Bell could blame the Bengals for his failure to net a long-term contract.
Say the lack of a new contract is because Vontaze Burfict had hurt him in the past
Who better to start with than the NFL’s all-purpose whipping boy? There is a lot of bad blood between the Bengals and Steelers, and Burfict and Bell are right in the middle of it. Bell’s 2015 season ended prematurely after a Burfict tackle led to an MCL tear for Bell. In the months that followed, Bell made several comments calling the Bengals and Burfict dirty and saying that they always tried to injury him.
Steelers' Le'Veon Bell says Burfict and Bengals targeted him, "tried to twist ankles" https://t.co/NZ346ZjSsP pic.twitter.com/RqWNMYMC0V— Cincy Jungle (@CincyJungle) May 24, 2016
NFL careers go by fast and running backs may have the shortest shelf-life of any position. Given that Burfict has already cost Bell half a season, it stands to reason that Bell could say Burfict is the reason Bell was not given a long-term contract. Bell knows his days are numbered and that he has to cash in while he still can. Seeing Burfict twice a year exacerbates this fact of NFL life.
Joe Mixon copied his style
Bell may be upset because he feels that the Steelers aren’t doing enough to protect him from identity theft. The culprit? Joe Mixon. Mixon has drawn comparisons to Bell for his burst and trademark patience. It is said that imitation is the the sincerest form of flattery. Judging by the tweet below, Bell does not subscribe to that theory as he was legitimately angered when the Bengals running back tried to be like one of the league’s best at the position.
for someone who feels they can do “way more” than I can, sure seems like u wanna be me! tryin to mimic my run style, my 1st down celebration— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) October 29, 2017
Bell appears to fear that he is going to come home from work one day and find Mixon in his house playing Jenga with his family with Mixon’s face taped over Bell’s in a family portrait. Mixon’s crimes against Bell are not limited to “larceny of running style” and “grand theft first down celebration.” No, they go much deeper than that. Mixon got personal when he robbed Bell of his individuality by (gasp) copying the way he wears his gear.
now u wear an arm sleeve on your left arm AND went to the mismatch gloves too?! lol just change your number from 28 to 26 while your at it..— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) October 29, 2017
There is no coming back from something like this. Another NFL running back wearing a sleeve on his left arm and mismatched gloves is like a rapper other then Nelly wearing a Band-Aid below one eye or a rapper other than LL Cool J rolling up one pant leg. Bell may blame the Bengals for not getting a deal done with the Steelers because he feels that Mixon has burgled him of his individuality and the only way to get it back is to make a really really ridiculous amount of money.
Reggie Nelson forced him to miss a playoff game
In the Bengals vs. Steelers Week 17 game of the 2014 NFL season, Reggie Nelson went low on a tackle on Bell and the running back was injured, causing him to miss the Steelers’ subsequent playoff game. The Steelers ended up losing that January 2017 Wild Card playoff game to none other than the Ravens! Bell couldn’t help his team get a playoff win, and that could be why the Steelers now don’t want to pay up. You surely could see Bell blaming the former Bengals safety for his failure to reach a new deal with Pittsburgh, right?
What other ways can you imagine Bell blaming the Bengals’ for having to play on the franchise tag for the second straight year?
*Note: In case it wasn’t abundantly clear, this is satire and should not be taken seriously.