This doesn’t bode well for Le’Veon Bell signing a long-term contract.
While calls by Steelers fans to fire head coach Mike Tomlin may have been too reactionary, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that some players and coaches took a lackadaisical approach to preparation at times this season. That includes star running back Le’Veon Bell, who was essentially a no-show for the Steelers’ walkthrough the day before their Divisional Round game against the Jaguars.
From the Post-Gazette:
Tomlin never lost the locker room, he had it under control and his players respect him. However, there were many instances in which he could have taken better control, including the fiasco for the national anthem in Chicago.
As another example, Tomlin wants players and coaches to report to the locker room two hours before kickoff for games. That was continually ignored by both players and a coach or two.
Not only did Bell arrive much later than that for the playoff game against Jacksonville (as well as one coach), he missed practically the entire Saturday walk-through the day before, showing up about five minutes before practice ended.
Bell’s future will be the biggest story of the offseason for Pittsburgh. He played this season on the franchise tag and turned down a five-year deal in August, Bouchette previously reported. The Steelers can tag Bell again but he said last week that he “would definitely consider” sitting out the 2018 season or even retiring if he was slapped with the tag again.
Bell, 25, was named to his second All-Pro team this season after rushing for 1,291 yards on 321 carries. He also caught 85 passes—second only on the team to Antonio Brown—for 655 yards.