You’d think the players would be in support of a player fighting to get paid the figure he thinks he deserves. Well, not in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ locker room.
A number of offensive linemen seemed deeply displeased that Le'Veon Bell’s holdout has lasted a few days into the regular season with the running back’s agent threatening to continue the stalemate well into the regular season. Maurkice Pouncey, David Decastro and Ramon Foster trashed Bell on Wednesday during media availability.
Foster also expressed his frustrations on Twitter on Wednesday.
During the 2018 offseason, the Steelers put the franchise tag on Bell for the second straight year, which, if he signed it and reported for work, would’ve earn him $14.544 million in 2018. He would then enter free agency after this season, barring an extension between Bell and Pittsburgh. However, he has not reported with hopes of locking up financial security for the long term.
As a result, he seems like a long shot to play in Week 1, which means the team will look to running back James Conner. And apparently, the offensive line has faith that they can create more than enough room for the second-year back. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn’t rip into Bell — in fact, he praised the running back — but Roethlisberger touted the importance of Foster, Pouncey and Decastro.
Roethlisberger from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler:
“You know football is the ultimate team sport. One guy doesn’t make, or break, you. So, I’d like to say the linemen are more important than any skill position player, including myself, on this team. So, this offense is more than just one guy.”