Steelers equipped to survive, thrive without Le'Veon Bell in 2018

‘One Person Doesn’t Make Or Break You:’ Steelers Prepare For Week One Without Le’Veon Bell

If he doesn't sign by that date, by rule, Bell can't play for the remainder of the season, and the Steelers would have the right to franchise-tag him again next year as if they were tagging him for the second time.

The Steelers have the option of doing so. The Steelers also slapped Bell with the tag past year, so their plan was a two-step contingency approach for life without Bell in 2019.

The Steelers started the 2015 and 2016 seasons without Bell, who served suspensions totaling five games.

Remember when Bell was going through a similar dance last season and said he should be paid as if he were the Steelers' No. 2 wide receiver behind Antonio Brown? I wasn't able to get back to playing at a high level in 2013 and, as a result, never got my due.

"He f-ked us", the player said.

In 2017 under ex-coordinator Todd Haley, the Steelers' offense got a little stale at times in terms of the volume and versatility of personnel used. "I've got an opportunity for Sunday and I can't wait for it". I'd like to say the linemen are more important than any skill player, including myself, on this team. Bell's agent Adisa Bakari was interviewed on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday and hinted at a concern Bell would be overworked this season by the Steelers, which could affect his earning potential when Bell reaches the open market in 2019. Jesse James, who's dealing with a back injury, has done an admirable job of being mostly a matchup-based red zone target for Roethlisberger.

Then there's this interesting observation (via The Athletic's Mark Kaboly) from OG David DeCastro on whether Bell would be welcomed back into the Steelers' locker room after potentially missing games: "I don't know, it's kind of awkward".

"At some point and you're like, 'All right, if you don't want to be here, it is what it is, hold out for 10 weeks", Pouncey said.

Stevan Ridley and rookie Jaylen Samuels will serve as Conner's backups.

The team hoped Bell would show up for work this week, but Bakari told NFL Live that Bell is "going to do the things necessary to protect his value long-term".

That did not sit well with Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. But at least let us know [you weren't coming].

That's their way of saying, "You're it".

In wake of Bakari's comments, several Steelers players have called out Bell, including the guys who do the blocking for him. It's bad for business.

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