Le'Veon Bell sat out the entire 2018 season amidst holding out for a new contract.
Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers missed the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2013. Former running back Le'Veon Bell thinks that it should not have gone that way.
In fact, Bell told Sports Illustrated's Jenny Vrentas that he felt that if he had played, the Steelers would have won the Super Bowl. Instead, he held out for a better contract, missing the entire season as a result, and Pittsburgh finished the year 9–6–1.
Here's an excerpt from Vrentas's cover story on Bell, which details the logic behind his reasoning:
The missed opportunity, for a team with a now-37-year-old QB [in Ben Roethlisberger], isn’t lost on anyone, including Bell, who says, “If I’d played this year, we would have won the Super Bowl. Think about the weapons we had. I would have been unhappy as hell, but if I was sprinkled in. . . . When we were winning games, it wasn’t bothering me how much I was getting the ball. Last year was our year, that’s why I didn’t understand why they didn’t just get it done. They had the money. Get it done and go win a Super Bowl.”
Pittsburgh boasted one of the most potent offensive units in the NFL in 2017, featuring Bell, Roethlisberger and receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown. Bell alone logged nearly 2,000 total yards from scrimmage, and the Steelers went 13–3 during the regular season en route to reaching the AFC Divisional Round.
In 2018, the Steelers still ranked among the most productive groups in the league, finishing fourth in total yards. But Pittsburgh rushing attack finished 31st in yards and attempts. The Steelers' two-year run atop the AFC North division came to an end.
This offseason, Bell and Brown each departed for new teams, joining the Jets and Raiders, respectively.