Pittsburgh Steelers holdout running back Le’Veon Bell has been on the receiving end of criticism by many around the NFL.
The All-Pro back continues to be away from the team as a contract stalemate has pretty much put an end to their relationship.
With Bell likely having to report prior to Nov. 13 in order to accrue a year of service, there’s a good chance he’ll be back with the Steelers here soon. That’s fine. But we can’t expect the Steelers’ players and brass to welcome him back with open arms.
Just ask head coach Mike Tomlin, who put Bell on blast ahead of the team’s all-important game against the division-rival Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
Steelers' HC Mike Tomlin to @diannaESPN on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown regarding the Le'Veon Bell situation: “We need volunteers, not hostages.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 4, 2018
This is in reference to Bell begrudgingly having to report to the team here in the next several days. Should he decide against returning to the Steelers, they can place the franchise tag on him once again this coming March without the typical increase in salary. Pittsburgh also has an opportunity to place the seldom-used transition tag on Bell.
But with James Conner playing well in Bell’s stead, it’s readily apparent that the Steelers aren’t beholden to the running back and his contract demands. That should make for an interesting time in the Steel City once (and if) Bell does indeed report. Tomlin’s latest comments magnify this even further.