Don Wright/Associated Press
The Pittsburgh Steelers will not trade running back Le’veon Bell amid his ongoing holdout, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com:
Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
To anyone suggesting the Steelers trade RB Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh is not even considering that option at this time, per source. No interest in dealing him. Steelers will wait for him, and some around the league believe Bell will be back before end of month.
Per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, “Steelers brass is moving forward as if [Bell] will not [be] available for at least the first four to six weeks of the season, according to league sources, and have been given no indication the Pro Bowl running back will be reporting anytime soon.”
Bell and the Steelers have faced off in contract negotiations for two consecutive offseasons, with the star running back seeking a long-term extension. A pact couldn’t be reached either year, however, with the Steelers slapping the franchise tag on Bell for each of the past two seasons.
Bell held out for the entirety of training camp and the preseason last year before reporting to the team on Sept. 1.
It appears this holdout will last much longer, however, and some of his teammates don’t seem particularly thrilled about that decision.
“If you don’t want to be here, it is what it is. Hold out 10 weeks,” center Maurkice Pouncey said, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.
“I just felt confident that he was gonna come. 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. … Now when it’s game time and you that you have $14 million looming out there, and you’re still not here and your team really wants you here? At this point, we got [James] Conner.”
Ramon Foster was also outspoken about Bell’s absence:
“In the ultimate team sport, we’ve created a league of individuals. I know the league is all about get your money, get paid, I love it. … But at least let us know [you weren’t coming].
“Right now, we’re just dealing with the aspect of, ‘Are you going to do it for us, or are you really going to wait it out?’ Because this is one of those things where we as an offensive line, as a team — Pounce urged him to come in, and now nothing. There are so many guys [here] who are sacrificing everything.”
Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network helped explain the frustration Bell’s teammates are feeling:
Aditi Kinkhabwala @AKinkhabwala
And then, when my friends @RealMikeRob and @ReggieBush wondered on @gmfb if the #Steelers were butting into Le’Veon Bell’s financial business, I felt compelled to respond. A little, uh, forcefully. @nflnetwork
(PS I love you both!) https://t.co/jt1ZL6JXk9
Given that the Steelers seem disinclined to either cut or trade Bell, there won’t be a resolution to his ongoing holdout until he chooses to report back to the team. Bell, on the other hand, seems unlikely to rush back without the security and assurances that a long-term deal offers. And so the standoff continues.