Wednesday brought no new news when it came to Le'Veon Bell, which is news in and of itself, as the Steelers running back declined to show up for meetings, when it comes to Pittsburgh's matchup against the Browns.
This comes in the wake of NFL Radio with Brady Quinn and Bruce Murray and actually explained precisely why Bell is holding out., which . Shortly after his non-appearance on Wednesday, Bell's agent appeared on Sirius XM
Turns out, Bell doesn't want the Steelers to grind him into dust this season, which is something they were probably planning to do. Asked what their plan is, Adisa Bakari said he wouldn't "discuss our plan publicly" but asked Quinn what he would do if he was Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin.
Quinn answered that he would "use [Bell] as much as possible" which is exactly what everyone would say. Bell's on a one-year contract and the Steelers want to max out their usage of him before he bolts for free agency.
Bakari declined to comment on the specific of Quinn's response, but he did say you can "read between the lines" which is essentially him confirming that, yes, the Steelers wanting to run Bell 40 times a game is why they don't want him there to start the season. Bakari then quoted Mike Tomlin saying that Bell will "get there when he's there."
Asked by Murray if something had changed, Bakari then pointed to his comment that Bell has "every intention to make this the best season of his career." That is vague and terrifying if you want Bell to have a good year, because "every intention" can be played off by pointing out that it's not Bell's fault he isn't there.
Murray then pointed out that Bakari said "barring something exceptional" Bell would have the same plan as he did in 2017.
"Well there you go," Bakari said. "We had something exceptional to occur."
This is a MONSTER red flag for Steelers fans! Maybe Bakari and Bell are bluffing, but I would highly doubt it. Bell can hold out for a pretty lengthy amount of time (10 weeks) without losing a year towards his free agency. He'll lose money in terms of weekly checks on his one-year tag, but he can still make plenty of money without taking on the huge workload that comes along with playing a full 16 regular-season games.
Here's the full audio from the interview:
Let's not pretend the Steelers are going to hear this, find out what Bell's plan is, and then call Bell and work out some handshake agreement where the running back won't be run into the ground on a week-by-week basis.
No one is going to agree to put a cap on Bell's carries this season. It's not going to happen. If he's on the roster and he's active he's going to be heavily featured in the Steelers offense.
Maybe James Conner and Jaylen Samuels can do a decent replication of Bell this season. Ben Roethlisberger has said that Bell is "only one player" and he's not wrong about that, but Bell is a big factor for this offense.
If Bell doesn't show up for the first half of the season, we could see some serious imbalance for the Pittsburgh offense to start the 2018 year.
We've, but when it comes to the Bell and Steelers situation.