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Running back Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers have failed to reach an extension before Monday’s deadline, making it a possibility that next season could be his last year with the team.
According to NFL.com, the Steelers failed to sign Bell to a long-term extension before Monday’s deadline for signing franchise-tagged players. In a statement, Bell’s agent Adisa Bakari said that his client might not wear a Steelers uniform beyond the upcoming regular season.
“His intention was to retire as a Steeler,” Bakari says in a statement obtained by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network Insider. “But now that there’s no deal, the practical reality is, this now likely will be Le’Veon’s last season as a Steeler.”
On his Twitter account, Bell issued a separate statement to fans where he reiterated his desire to retire as a Steeler. According to Bell, both sides tried to make a long-term deal happened, but they failed to do so.
“NFL is a hard business at times. To the fans that had hope, I’m sorry we let you down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date,” said Bell, who will make $14.5 million in 2018 if he signs the franchise tag. In 2017, Bell also played under the franchise tag worth $12.1 million.
Steelers Also Tried To Sign Bell To Deal
According to Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, both sides worked hard to reach an agreement before the deadline. Now, the Steelers will have to contend with one more season with Bell before he leaves the team for a bigger deal somewhere else.
“Even though we could not reach a long-term contract agreement with Le’Veon Bell, we are excited he will be with the team in 2018,” Colbert said in a statement.
“We worked very hard to find common ground, but we were unable to accomplish that prior to today’s deadline. Le’Veon will play this season under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation,” added Colbert.
Colbert said the Steelers will try to sign Bell to a long-term deal again in the hope that he will finish his career as a Steeler. Before the deadline, the Steelers offered Bell a five-year deal worth $70 million. Last season, Pittsburgh offered Bell a five-year $60 million contract that he also rejected.
Bell One Of NFL’s Elite Offensive Weapons
A second-round pick by the Steelers in 2013, Bell has made a name for himself as one of the NFL’s top dual-threat running back.
In his five seasons with the Steelers, Bell carried the ball 1,229 times for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns. He also caught 312 passes for 2,660 yards and seven touchdowns.
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