Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
Sports | By Toni Houston

'A LITTLE SELFISH': Steelers losing patience with absent Le'Veon Bell

'A LITTLE SELFISH': Steelers losing patience with absent Le'Veon Bell

Drafted 48th overall in 2013, Bell is a two-time first-team All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler who has racked up almost 8,000 yards from scrimmage and 42 total touchdowns in 62 career games.

According to sources at ESPN, the NFL Network and elsewhere, many Steelers players have expressed frustration at Bell's continued holding out as the team's first game of the season is mere days away. The team appeared hopeful he would report this week - as he did a year ago to end his holdout when Week 1 began - but with Sunday's opener against the Browns looming, his support appears to be losing steam. While Roethlisberger would like to have all of his weapons at his disposal, he also knows it's more than one player that makes the offense tick.

"I just felt confident that he was gonna come", Pouncey said Wednesday, "But now that he didn't, obviously it's Le'Veon over the Steelers, and we're the Steelers and we're going to play as the Steelers".

But the frustration has now leaked into the locker room to the point where players now appear to be on management's side - or at least they're not respecting the way Bell is going about his holdout, seemingly leaving many of them in the dark on his plans. "We'll worry about him in Week 2", Pouncey said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Tim Benz. "You can't play football like that".

Bell reportedly turned down a 5-year deal worth $70 million back in July, just before the deadline to sign franchise-tagged players had passed, but promised fans that 2018 would be his best season yet.

Modric beats Salah, Ronaldo to 2017/2018 UEFA best player award
Reacting to the draw, Mourinho told the club's official website: "Difficult for us, hard for them [the other teams]". However, Croatia captain and midfielder Modric said he could not be happier with the Champions League holders.

Unlike Bell, I wasn't under the franchise tag, but I held out for 38 days prior to the 2012 National Football League season. However, things aren't looking too good in the Steel City right now, at least not when it comes to superstar running back Le'Veon Bell.

"I've got the opportunity to play the game again", said Conner, who endured a highly public battle with cancer during his college career. One person doesn't make or break you.

"Stars are made every year, so hopefully it aligns for him", Pouncey said.

Bell did not report to the Steelers' facility for Wednesday morning meetings and has not signed his $14.5 million franchise tag, setting the stage for James Conner to start Sunday at Cleveland. "Whether it's someone's first or previous year, none of that should matter".

Pittsburgh's confidence in Conner is not just lip service for the "next man up". Bell's absence won't change that plan. "We'll worry about him in week 2".

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