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Insider Only Latest Chatter: Bell playing a game of chicken, irked by glowing talk of James Conner……

The Le’Veon Bell situation is going to drag on and possibly for multiple weeks.

Things have been heading in the direction where Bell would not report to the team this week and his agent hinted further Wednesday that Bell could be away from the team for a while.

Bell’s agent Adisa Bakari, speaking on SiriusXM radio said that the No. 1 priority for Bell is ensuing as little wear and tear as possible this season to preserve Bell for the massive payday his camp believes is awaiting him next year as a free agent.

“You’re Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin, you have possibly a once-in-a-generation player for one more season. What would your plan be?” Bakari said implying the Steelers are going to run him until the wheels fall off. “I think Mike Tomlin said it best yesterday. He’ll get there when he gets there, and we’ll address those issues when he arrives.”

Bakari made a point to say the “franchise tag no longer works” and claimed something “exceptional has occurred”, hinting at the massive contracts in guaranteed money going around.

Le’Veon Bell might be forfeiting over $800,000 this week but the star running back has already won.

The Steelers look bad here in not protecting themselves.

They played this card ‘we’ll franchise him another year and he’ll report for the first week and everything will be okay’.

Now Bell is punching back by playing games in having no communication with the organization.

All players inside that room know it’s a business but Bell going silent and playing hide and seek is what drove so many players to go off Wednesday with the media and you can’t blame them.

This isn’t a Khalil Mack holdout. Bell can’t receive anymore money and this is now beyond business.

Man up and quit acting like a child and at least be straight up that you won’t be here until week 6, week 10, whatever it may be.

Players like Maurkice Pouncey, who actually helped try to negotiate a new deal for Bell behind the scenes have now taken this personal in Bell playing this guessing game.

What the Steelers need to do is come to their senses and start acting like that nobody, especially a running back is above the logo.

They backed themselves into this corner.

Bell is going to eventually show up, he has to in preserving his free agency for 2019.

But, not franchising Bell in March sure looks the move that should have been done by the Steelers.

Pittsburgh should have made their best offer to Bell in free agency, took the high comp pick for the 2019 draft and spread the $14 million+ owed to Bell to address other needs.

Those who know Bell well believe a few things are at play here:

1. Bell and his camp have started making moves with the lack of communication over what is believed be since about mid-August to alienate the Steelers enough where tagging him (was unlikely anyways) next year will be completely off the table.

2. The continued glowing talk of James Conner has irked Bell mightily, players in the Steelers room strongly believe. The feeling seems to be Bell is playing a game of chicken, waiting for Conner to falter and he can arrive on his white horse and save the day. That’s how Bell thinks.

Sunday’s game becomes fascinating.

You can bet this is a motivated Steelers offense ready to put on a show to prove Bell a point.

“Le’Veon’s not here so we gotta show we can go out and do it without him,” probowl guard David DeCastro said today.

You can also bet if the Browns upset the Steelers and the offense has a miserable day, Bell will magically appear next week…..

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About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com