LeVeon Bell Doesnt Report To Steelers Wont Play In 2018

Wednesday, 14 Nov, 2018

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert released a brief statement regarding today's development that reads, "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".

The 26-year-old Bell can become a free agent in March.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time first-team All-Pro, Bell is the first player to sit out an entire season on the franchise tag since Washington Redskins defensive lineman Sean Gilbert in 1997.

Bell - who's been holding out since the offseason in search of a new mega-deal with Pittsburgh - had until 1 PM PT to sign his franchise tag.

The Steelers, who have won five straight to sprint to the top of the division heading into a visit to Jacksonville on Sunday, will turn to second-year back James Conner and reserves Stevan Ridley and rookie Jaylen Samuels to help shoulder the load with Bell out of the picture.

"I'll be fully committed and give you everything I have", Bell said then.

A few hours before the deadline, head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Tuesday that Bell hadn't returned a text message or phone call from him.

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And with that, the Le'Veon Bell saga has reached a conclusion lacking fireworks, grand arrivals, or last-minute surprises.

The Steelers drafted Bell with the 48th overall pick in the 2013 draft, won over by his youth, size and versatility. Instead, Bell made good on a threat he made almost 11 months ago, when he said he would consider sitting out the season if the team kept him from free agency via a second franchise tag.

Teammates once imagined the possibilities with an All-Pro tailback and an emerging weapon working together. Conner suffered a concussion in Thursday's win over the Panthers, but is expected to clear protocol this week.

Players were surprised when Bell didn't show for Week 1, with his own offensive line ripping him for the absence. That's a moot point now.

And so, we appear to be at the end of Bell's career in Pittsburgh.

"I don't know what his plans are, but I would say that at this point, we expect him to come back next week", team president Art Rooney II told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Thursday.