The Pittsburgh Steelers are starting to come unhinged before Week 1 even kicks off, at least when it comes to Le’Veon Bell.
The All-Pro running back continues to stay away from the team after being hit with the franchise tag yet again. The two sides were unable to work out a new deal over the summer, which means Bell must once again play under a one-year deal with no long-term security.
This has Bell in a bad place with the Steelers organization, as he held out for all of OTAs, training camp and the preseason. He was, however, expected to be back at practice by the time Week 1 began, but thus far, Bell has yet to arrive in Pittsburgh.
This has his teammates very frustrated, and it’s starting to boil over into the public eye with Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster and David Decastro all commenting on the situation. It says a lot that veterans are turning their backs on Bell.
Maurkice Pouncey on Le’Veon Bell’s agent suggesting he’d like to know #Steelers plan for the RB this year: “That’s just stupid. You can’t play football like that.”— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) September 5, 2018
Pouncey: "Obviously it's Le'Veon over the Steelers and we are the Steelers"— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 5, 2018
More Ramon Foster on Bell: “He’s making 7 times what I make twice as much as Al (Villanueva) is making and we’re the guys who do it for him.”— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) September 5, 2018
Maurkice Pouncey is clearly DONE w/ Le’Veon Bell’s absence. Says he’d much prefer Bell just say when he’s going to show up, even if it’s Week 10: “Why play hide and seek? Why let your agent say this? Just man up and tell us what you’re going to do.”— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) September 5, 2018
DeCastro on Bell -- "Just sit out the whole year then."— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) September 5, 2018
It's all fun and games until it starts affecting other people. I think we saw that in the Steelers' locker room today with the quotes from Foster, Pouncey and DeCastro.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) September 5, 2018
I think it’s safe to say Pittsburgh isn’t in a good place ahead of the new season. It also appears likely that they’ll face the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 without Bell. The star running back could even miss multiple games, which his agent threatened on Wednesday.
Maybe the Browns start the year 1-0?