"I'm not a real greedy guy. I don't play football just for money or things like that," Bell told ESPN.com's James Walker. "I just want to be valued. Wherever it is -- whether its $15 million or lower or higher, whatever it is -- I think we will get to an agreement eventually."
On Bell's latest track, titled "Focus," he dropped this line: "I'm at the top and if not I'm the closest, I'ma need 15 a year and they know this."
The implication: Bell would, you know, need $15 million a year and, presumably, the Steelers -- or other interested parties -- know this. But the 2013 second-round pick, who is coming off a knee injury that kept him out of action the final two months of the 2015 season, told Walker that he freestyled that line and it wasn't a big deal.
The good news for Steelers fans is that Bell sounds like he wants to stay in Pittsburgh long term.
"Obviously, I want to be a Steeler for my whole life," he said. "My family grew up Pittsburgh Steelers fans, and it's crazy I even got drafted there. So I want to be with them and hopefully we'll reach an agreement. But that will take place once that time come."
Bell, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, says he's physically ready to get back to football after tearing his MCL and PCL in Week 8 on a hit he thinks was intentional.
"I'm going to be ready," Bell said of training camp, which starts on July 28. "The biggest thing for me is getting mentally ready for getting hit and things like that, and I don't think I'll really get tackled until a preseason game or maybe in the regular season. I don't think I'll actually hit the ground or get tackled. But when that does happen, I'll be ready for it. But cutting, running routes, picking them and putting them on my feet, everything is back to normal."
Bell said overall the rehab process went "great." But there were tough times, particularly early on.
"It's crazy because, in November when it happened, I never realize I'd be back at this point," he continued. "I remember it was times when I couldn't walk up the steps, walk down the steps, really couldn't sit down by myself, even go to the restroom. I'm just thinking now I'm right back to form how I was when I left. Obviously, it's more of a mental thing for me now. I know my knee is strong enough now. I know it's probably stronger than it ever was, my legs are."
Bell is one of the league's most dynamic players. In 2014, he started every regular-season game and in addition to 1,361 rushing yards (4.7 YPC) and eight rushing touchdowns, he also had 83 receptions for 854 yards and three receiving touchdowns. And in just six games last season in ranked fifth in Football Outsiders' total value metric, and was first in value per play among all running backs.
The Steelers head into the season with the NFL's most explosive offense. It all starts with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown, but a fully healthy Bell is arguably the team's most dangerous player. Pittsburgh, however, will be without another young budding star; third-year wideout Martavis Bryant was suspended for the 2016 season for for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. And while Bryant obviously makes the offense better, Bell knows the unit can still put up a lot of points.
"We have playmakers everywhere, I think our offense is still going to be just as dynamic," Bell said back in March. "Obviously Martavis would make it a lot easier but we still have that next-man-up (mentality)."
And he's not alone. Last month, offensive coordinator Todd Haley said he thought 30 points a game was a realistic goal.
"I think what we did great last year was we got in the red zone a bunch," Haley told the team's website at the time. "We probably scored six out of the 10 times we were in there and we always want that to be better. There's not a lot of separation from us and the top teams in the red, but clearly when you get down into that area of the field you got to come away with points and the more times it's touchdowns the better.
"If you're looking at reasons why we didn't get to 30, I'd say turnovers number one. Anytime you give up possessions, you're giving yourself one less chance to score points. And then red. I think we did a pretty good job scoring outside the fringe red area. We made some big plays, so those have to continue. We have to get a little better in the red and then we'll be going in the right direction."
Another reason: No Bell, though the hope is that he can stay healthy in 2016.