On April 1 of 2016, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell announced his retirement.
On April 1 of 2017, Bell offered up a slightly more plausible April Fool’s Day gag. He declared that he’ll sit out the season in lieu of signing the franchise tag.
And, unlike most, he literally used the term “literally” in the proper way. Literally.
Although he has yet to declare “April Fool’s!“, Bell surely won’t be sitting out the season and leaving more than $12 million on the table, unless he’s the kind of pity-worthy Mr. T fool who isn’t confined to April 1. Bell’s one-year guaranteed salary dramatically outpaces the running back market, and the draft is loaded with plenty of young and cheap options at the position.
From his recent groin surgery to other injuries and suspensions, Bell has missed 20 games in four years. That reality is likely keeping the team from offering him a long-term deal based on the magnitude of the franchise tag.
Regardless, Bell shouldn’t even be joking about not signing the franchise tender. Four weeks from now, if the Steelers pick a running back on one of the first two days of the draft, the joke could be on him when they rescind the franchise tender.