Le'Veon Bell has 7,996 yards and 42 touchdowns from scrimmage in five seasons and played this year on the franchise tag.

By Khadrice Rollins
January 11, 2018

Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell played this season under the franchise tag, and the two-time All-Pro told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler that if Pittsburgh were to place him on the franchise tag for next season, he "would definitely consider" sitting out the season or even retiring from the NFL.

Bell, 25, has played five seasons with the Steelers after spending three years at Michigan State. He told Fowler that he is happy with his football career so far and is not concerned about making as much money as possible, but instead with setting a precedent for other running backs to be paid in relation to their value and usage.

"I just want to be valued where I'm at," Bell told Fowler. "If I am playing this game, I want to set standards for all the other running backs behind me like Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon, guys like that. I'm a guy they can kind of look at. I feel I can do that. I'm in a position where I can do that and I'm going to do it."

Under the franchise tag this year, Bell made $12.1 million. That number is expected to increase to around $14.5 million next season, according to Fowler. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that prior to this season Bell turned down a five-year deal that would have gotten him $30 million in the first two seasons.

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Bell told Fowler that if the Steelers want to reach an agreement for a long-term deal this offseason they need to "value" him. Bell added that he doesn't need football to stay happy and he has already made enough money for his family.

"Just get the numbers straight exactly where we want them," Bell told Fowler. "I'm not going to settle for anything. I know what I do and what I bring to the table. I'm not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at."

This season, Bell rushed a league-high 321 times for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns and caught 85 passes for 655 yards and two touchdowns.

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