Le’Veon Bell appears in Pittsburgh, but no word on contact with Steelers
PITTSBURGH — Le’Veon Bell is back in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers running back played basketball at an L.A. Fitness club in North Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, a manager with L.A. Fitness confirmed to ESPN.
Pictures and videos circulated online late Tuesday of Bell in the club. Pittsburgh resident John Maus, who posted a video of Bell on his Snapchat story, said the subject in his video is “110 percent Le’Veon” and his video was shot live.
Despite the video, there was no indication Wednesday that Bell had visited the team’s facility.
Bell, a member of L.A. Fitness who has spent past offseasons working out there, recently left Miami, where he has trained while away from the Steelers. Bell has failed to sign his $14.5 million franchise tender while preserving his long-term health for a future lucrative contract.
Bell must report to the team by Tuesday — Week 11, before the Steelers’ Nov. 18 matchup with the Jaguars at Jacksonville — or he forfeits the season. He can become a free agent in 2019 if the Steelers do not place a third tag on him.
A third franchise tag would be worth more than $20 million, and though the Steelers are unlikely to utilize that tag, one option is the transition tag, which is worth 120 percent of his previous year’s salary.
If Bell fails to report, the transition tag would be around $14.5 million, or 120 percent of his $12.1 million franchise tag from 2017, since that’s the last year he played.
If he plays in games this season, the Steelers could try to prove Bell’s transition tag should be prorated.
On Wednesday night, Bell posted two messages on his Twitter account in upside-down text, saying in part that he is “not apologizing” for his holdout.
“Just about everybody has an opinion on my life & worried about what I’m doing,” Bell wrote. “… Don’t judge me off my decisions because maybe this isn’t what you’d do … but most people don’t take the time to just simply read between the lines … & that’s clearly on them … I’m not apologizing for what I believe is right for myself, family, and the rest of my peers, period … also if you’re really finding the time to figure out what I’m saying, you’ve proved my point.”
In Bell’s absence, running back James Conner has produced a total of 1,085 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games.