Time has run out for Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell if he wanted to play in the NFL this season. CBS Pittsburgh reports Bell had until 4 p.m. Tuesday to report to the team, but he did not. That has made him ineligible to play for the remainder of the season and has forced him to forfeit $14.5 million.
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert released a statement confirming Tuesday’s news.
“I want to confirm that Le’Veon Bell did not sign his Franchise Tender today and, as a result, he will not be eligible to play football during the 2018 season,” he said.
Bell skipped all of training camp in the summer and has been a no-show all season. He never appeared Tuesday at Steelers’ headquarters on the South Side, either.
Over the weekend, ESPN’s Adam Schefter cited multiple league sources that said Bell was unlikely to report to the team by the deadline.
Many speculated he would return to the team after he tweeted he was leaving Miami. Later in the week, he was spotted at an LA Fitness in Pittsburgh.
Bell posted a series of upside down tweets, saying: “Just about everybody has an opinion on my life and worried about what I’m doing… don’t judge me off my decisions because maybe this isn’t what you’d do.”
˙˙˙ɯǝɥʇ uo ʎןɹɐǝןɔ s’ʇɐɥʇ &˙˙˙sǝuıן ǝɥʇ uǝǝʍʇǝq pɐǝɹ ʎןdɯıs ʇsnظ oʇ ǝɯıʇ ǝɥʇ ǝʞɐʇ ʇ’uop ǝןdoǝd ʇsoɯ ʇnq˙˙˙op p’noʎ ʇɐɥʍ ʇ’usı sıɥʇ ǝqʎɐɯ ǝsnɐɔǝq suoısıɔǝp ʎɯ ɟɟo ǝɯ ǝbpnظ ʇ’uop˙˙˙buıop ɯ’ı ʇɐɥʍ ʇnoqɐ pǝıɹɹoʍ & ǝɟıן ʎɯ uo uoıuıdo uɐ sɐɥ ʎpoqʎɹǝʌǝ ʇnoqɐ ʇsnظ
“I’m not apologizing for what I believe is right for myself, family, and the rest of my peers, period…,” he tweeted.
ʇuıod ʎɯ pǝʌoɹd ǝʌ’noʎ ‘buıʎɐs ɯ’ı ʇɐɥʍ ʇno ǝɹnbıɟ oʇ ǝɯıʇ ǝɥʇ buıpuıɟ ʎןןɐǝɹ ǝɹ’noʎ ɟı osןɐ˙˙˙poıɹǝd ‘sɹǝǝd ʎɯ ɟo ʇsǝɹ ǝɥʇ puɐ ‘ʎןıɯɐɟ ‘ɟןǝsʎɯ ɹoɟ ʇɥbıɹ sı ǝʌǝıןǝq ı ʇɐɥʍ ɹoɟ buızıboןodɐ ʇou ɯ’ı
As the Steelers plan to play the Panthers on Thursday, Bell tweeted about James Conner, who has replaced Bell in his absence. He later tweeted, “I think it’s safe to say, it’s time to pass the sticks …”
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin did not hear from the All-Pro running back either. Tomlin spoke about the situation during his regularly scheduled news conference Tuesday.
When asked if Bell does not return, Tomlin got straight to the point: “So be it.”
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