Steelers offensive guard David DeCastro says it doesn't matter if Le'Veon Bell ends his holdout or not.
Following Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin's lead in addressing the absence of All–Pro running back Le'Veon Bell, Steelers offensive lineman David DeCastro says it doesn't matter if Bell returns to the team.
Bell has not played this season as he is seeking a long–term deal. He still hasn't signed his $14.5 million franchise tender and has until Nov. 13 to report if he wants to play this season.
DeCastro had plenty to say speaking to The MMQB following the Steelers' 24–16 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
“Why waste more energy on it? The first week, we were shocked by [the Bell holdout]. At this point, what are you gonna do? Sit here and drive at it and beg him to come back? Obviously that’s not how it works," DeCastro said. "So we just put our best foot forward and try to do the best for this team.”
When Tomlin was asked whether the Steelers need Bell in the lineup moving forward, Tomlin said, "we need volunteers, not hostages."
Bell's replacement, James Conner, has had an excellent season. Connor is currently second in the NFL in rushing with 706 yards. He also has 38 catches for 379 yards and has scored 10 total touchdowns.
“It just doesn’t matter,” DeCastro said. “If he shows up, you’re blocking your guy the same as you would for Conner. It’s not like it’s going to be an issue. As much drama as there was with that, it’s not going to affect how we play football.”
The Steelers can continue to play hardball with Bell as ESPN reports the team can slap the transition tag on him following this season, allowing the Steelers to match any offer Bell receives from another team.
The AFC North–leading Steelers next play the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.