Reports about Le’Veon Bell’s behavior match those of Antonio Brown last year

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A year ago, word out of Pittsburgh was that soon-to-be free agent Antonio Brown‘s act was wearing thin with the Steelers. This year, reports are saying the same about soon-to-be free agent Le'Veon Bell.

This week’s report that the Steelers are unhappy about Bell’s tardiness comes less than two months before Bell is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency, if the Steelers don’t slap the franchise tag on him for the second consecutive year. It’s likely not a coincidence that there are sources in Pittsburgh putting out word that the player who wants to break the bank in free agency isn’t worth as much money as he’d like to think he is.

As PFT put it a year ago, “By creating the impression that they’re not happy with Brown, who remains one of the best receivers in the game, they may be able to lock him up for a lot less than he otherwise would want.”

The same could be said this year: Bell remains one of the best running backs in the game, but the Steelers would like the perception to exist that they’re not happy with him, perhaps so that he won’t get his expectations too high for how much he deserves to be paid.

In the end, the Steelers and Brown agreed to a new contract about a month after all the reports coming out of Pittsburgh that Brown’s act was wearing thin. So any reports about the Steelers growing frustrated with Bell’s behavior have to be viewed through that lens. The motivation to put out the word about Bell’s tardiness is surely related to a desire to get Bell back at an affordable price.

71 responses to “Reports about Le’Veon Bell’s behavior match those of Antonio Brown last year

  1. Apples to oranges. Brown had/has a bit of diva in him that he does a well enough job of hiding from the public, most times at least. But by all accounts he’s the hardest worker on the team, prepares like a madman, shows up and is mostly professional. He’s never been suspended…for anything. And other than the injury this year and his concussion from the Bengals game he’s been healthy and available his entire career. Those are things that you just don’t hear about Bell. Quite the opposite actually. The situations aren’t very much alike at all actually.

  2. These to me isn’t a player issue. This is a coaching issue. Who allows this to happen? Someone who doesn’t have control of their locker room is who.

  3. If these stories are true, I think it’s being leaked to get Tomlin fired. Which I would think they have to do, unless the organization and fan base is ok with this sort of malcontent behavior.

  4. Bell is good, very good but he’s really not as good as many believe.

    His longest carry this year was 27 yards. All season he only had 3 rushes of more than 20 yards. 26 other running backs had more rushes of 20 plus yards than he did.

    Is he also like a wide receiver? Not really. He doesn’t line up out wide. He simply gets dinks, dunks and check downs from Big Ben. Bell’s receptions went for an average gain of 7.7 yards. Value? Yes, like a wide out? No.

    Bell averaged 4.0 yards per game. Good, not great. He carried it 321 times and 15% of his runs went for no gain or negative yardage. Now, add in rushes for 3 yards or less to those that went for no gain or negative yardage and you’re up to 39% of his rushes.

    So, basically 40% of his rushes went for 3 yards or less and remember, he doesn’t really break the long runs off either, just 3 went for more than 20 yards.

    Again, he’s good, very good, but dig deeper into his production for the whole story.

  5. Bell, to his credit, stood his ground with the Steelers last summer and didn’t blink. It’s hard to believe that Pittsburgh will be try to play any negotiation games with him. Bell is either well advised or just a tough business person. He’s not going to blink. They’ll wind up franchising him and the losing him in 2019.

  6. Well, if they are not happy with him, then do not sign or franchise him. Everyone knows that the team will franchise him as his production is considerable and he is a known quantity. If the team is spreading this information to drive down bells value, that is wrong on the team’s part.

  7. ” If the team is spreading this information to drive down bells value, that is wrong on the team’s part.”
    —————————
    I think this is exactly what the Steelers are doing.

  8. The Steelers would do well to let Le’Veon Bell walk. They could draft a RB high (in an excellent draft for them), to go with James Connor, who will be healthy and more mature as a player, as well as Stevan Ridley, who looked good in some late-season action for them. They could go with a group of good, productive backs (a la NE and others), while divesting themselves of a player who has become a headache/distraction, as well as saving a lot of money to apply to other areas of the roster.

  9. I have to laugh about how far the Steeler’s legacy and philosophy has changed under Dumblin. He let’s the players cavort around like petulant children. They spend more time practicing End zone celebrations than they do practicing football. Arriving late, making FB videos in the locker room, talking trash to opponents before games, looking past opponents. The inmates are truly running the asylum. Bell is just proving he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed once again. He doesn’t really want to play football. I’m sure he’d rather be making rap videos and getting stoned with Snoop Dogg. The soap opera that is the Steeler organization of today will continue until they hire an adult to be head coach, not some politically active babysitter who wants to be pals with the players. It’s just become so pathetic to watch.

  10. datdude84 says:
    “..These to me isn’t a player issue. This is a coaching issue. Who allows this to happen? Someone who doesn’t have control of their locker room is who…”

    Amen to that.
    Can you imagine a RB on the Patriots going off like this?
    He’d be packing his bags before ESPN got ahold of it.
    And I’m a Steelers fan…

  11. But he’ll be the first to tell you that he’s a grown man whenever someone does something he doesn’t like and accuses them of not treating him like a man.

  12. So the Steelers are so intent on saving a few bucks on Bell’s contract they’re willing to make their head coach look like he has no control over the team?

  13. I am not a Steelers fan. And I’m reading a lot of negative stuff in this comments about how the Steelers team is run. But year after year they’re in the playoffs and at least in the hunt for a title. they must be doing something right.

  14. Except that Brown wasn’t due to become a free agent. He was signed through 2017 BEFORE he signed an extension.
    The comparison also doesn’t make sense from the standpoint that Brown, while sullen in 2016, never showed up late or skipped walkthrus. Brown also never discussed sitting out the next year or retiring if he didn’t get what he wanted.
    Lastly, the point about the Steelers organization supposedly hoping that Briown or Bell would take less because the organization had used the players’ words/actions and created a narrative that they were not happy with them is silly. You really think that agents are going to take anything into account that supersedes impact on the field?

  15. .
    @foozie

    You’re not the only Steelers fan disgusted with Tomlin. I’ve talked to many and they don’t mind losing a game, but feel that Tomlin doesn’t put them in the best position to win.

    At some point you have to go with the “addition by subtraction” method. In the midst of a Super Bowl winning season the Patriots jettisoned freelancing LB Jaime Collins to the Browns for third rounder. When the contract demands of Chandler Jones became an impediment to the team’s overall salary structure, he was shipped to the Cardinals for draft capital which turned out to be starting G Joe Thuney and WR Malcolm Mitchell. There are times when it’s best to move on. However, in Pittsburgh, breaking up with a player is hard to do.
    .

  16. They aren’t well coached, they have a diva for a QB and a stable of other offensive divas. The funniest part is, once proud Pitt has a mediocre defense. They will not win a thing under this formula.

  17. Bell’s running style is cute and all but someone needs to teach him situational football. If it’s 3rd and 2, hit the hole and pick up the first down. Quit tap dancing around looking to break one. Guy isn’t worth a dime over $5 million in today’s NFL.

  18. Bell, like Odell, are great talents. But are you better off getting 70% production from a team oriented player, at one tenth the cost? Sometimes it’s better to walk from these players walk and get players that want to play, and are not probable to get suspended again.

  19. Big difference between the two. Notwithstanding this is not the Steelers MO. They are tight lipped on contract negotiations and don’t play the media like other organizations do. Bell has much, much less leverage than Brown did due to his injury history, the comments he has openly made, as well as his off field issues and suspensions.

  20. Bell’s not “one of the best running backs in the league” He’s THE best running back in the league and the second or third best overall player. It’s totally irrelevant what the keyboard warriors think about him. Pay him or let him walk. If you let him walk I guarantee you’ll regret it though

  21. Brown annoys me because he’s a bit full of himself. I’m Old School and don’t care for the field celebrations, and stopped following him after he posted private locker room comments. But the guy works. By all reports, he’s the last one to leave practice every day. He puts in extra time, perfecting his routes and catching. He can’t be called a shirker. Bell, on the other hand, has already had an arrest and a suspension. He made big promises to the team and the fan base that he’d make it up to everybody. Sitting out, missing training camp, skipping practice–that’s no way to live up to his promise. I fully believe the Steelers’ timing was off early in the season because he missed training camp.

    Brown has a big ego–which isn’t uncommon in players of his caliber. But he does what’s necessary to be the best he can be. Bell seems to have some character issues. Everything is not equal with these two Killer Bs.

  22. Constantly wasting our time with this speculation. “They are trying to get AB at a discount” then they pay him. “They are trying to get Bell at a discount” he will be tagged no question about it

  23. The Steelers need Bell and Bell needs the Steelers. Both sides need to work to a mutual agreement. Big Ben is what makes this team go. After they figure all this out, they’d be wise to start thinking about a couple pieces they can add to this defense.

  24. steelcurtainn says:
    January 20, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    The Steelers need Bell and Bell needs the Steelers. Both sides need to work to a mutual agreement.
    ———————————————————————————————–
    Why does Bell need the Steelers? He can ply his trade for anyone willing to pay him what he wants. Unless you think Pittsburgh will pay more than anyone else?

    As for the Steelers need Bell, I sincerely doubt that. The current formula of playing a WR and a RB huuuuge salaries hasn’t gotten them anywhere, and in fact they are sliding back from the peak they achieved in 2016/2017.

    Let Conner, carry the load, draft a young back who plays for peanuts and devote some of those wasted resources into the defense. I doubt that’ll get the team to a SB, but the current method has been a failure and it makes no sense to continue doing that.

  25. spartanlegend says:
    January 20, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Bell’s not “one of the best running backs in the league” He’s THE best running back in the league and the second or third best overall player.
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    So if we go along with your premise, we can say that he’s the best RB in a league in which having the best RB doesn’t mean squat.

  26. don’t take the bait, and don’t compromise. It’s your right to pursue a max deal, and Pittsburg is not bargaining in good faith, they’re simply trying to get you on the cheap!

  27. patsfan1960 says:
    January 20, 2018 at 3:46 pm
    Are the steelers overlooking the patriots oh thats right…

    ——————-
    Im a Pats fan too. But I have grown weary of the piling on the Steelers. Sure they have problems. I agree with most comments on this feed that are describing problems. But I cant take joy in them. One of the key ingredients to making the Patriots fun to root for has been tne Steelers. For the Patriots to be exciting there has to be tough opponents and the Steelers have delivered that more than most teams (Ravens and Broncos have given some consistent pressure). I dont mean teams that flash once in a while (Giants) but teams that are menacing year in year out. So yeah I agree with all these things I am reading about them. But no laughter. I hope the Steelers correct them and rise up to be in our face over and over. If they win the next one then so be it, that will just add more edge to the games that come after. Good luck Pittsburgh.

  28. pastabelly says:
    January 20, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    He’s not going to blink. They’ll wind up franchising him and the losing him in 2019.
    ———————————————————————————————————-
    If they do franchise him, and give him another 400 carries in 2018, he’s either going to injured or all used up come 2019. I think that is in fact the Steelers’ plan: Ring him out like a dishtowel and don’t worry about his long term health.

    If I’m Bell, I tell them to pound sound and hold out.

  29. Coffeehog says:
    January 20, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    ——————-
    Im a Pats fan too . . . I hope the Steelers correct them and rise up to be in our face over and over. If they win the next one then so be it, that will just add more edge to the games that come after. Good luck Pittsburgh.
    —————————————————————————————————-
    If Steeler fans weren’t so insufferable I might agree with you. But despite being a punch line for the last X years, Steelers fans continue to think they are actually the best team in the league that has failed to hoist a Lombardi only because of headset problems, warm Gatorade, unfair scheduling, mean referees and every other excuse possible except the actual one: They have built their team in a dumb way allocating resources in a crazy way, they are poorly coached and they aren’t good enough.

  30. Amazing how stupid and racist the sporting news is. This story appeared without attributions. Where did the story originate? It had to come from within the Steeler organization, using their media contacts to plant the story in the lily white, racist, sporting press in Pittsburgh, a city where black athletes better know their place and be thankful for it. No background on the supposed incident was given, I.e., why was he late?, since on the day in question six or seven inches of new snow had just fallen and the city streets were for the most part impassable and untreated. Bell was given no benefit of the doubt, in a city where, if you are black, that is s.o.p.; no chance to respond to or deny this latest character assasination. This apparently is the Steeler treatment given to its black players who are pushing for an honest evaluation of their talent and market value.

  31. walker1191 says:
    January 20, 2018 at 5:38 pm
    Coffeehog says:
    January 20, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    ——————-
    Im a Pats fan too . . . I hope the Steelers correct them and rise up to be in our face over and over. If they win the next one then so be it, that will just add more edge to the games that come after. Good luck Pittsburgh.
    —————————————————————————————————-
    If Steeler fans weren’t so insufferable I might agree with you.

    ********************************************************************************

    You should meet Patriots fans. I agree Steeler fans are bad, and I’m a Steeler fan, but come on. What a nightmare.

  32. walker1191 says:
    January 20, 2018 at 5:38 pm
    Coffeehog says:
    January 20, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    ——————-
    Im a Pats fan too . . . I hope the Steelers correct them and rise up to be in our face over and over. If they win the next one then so be it, that will just add more edge to the games that come after. Good luck Pittsburgh.
    —————————————————————————————————-
    If Steeler fans weren’t so insufferable I might agree with you. But despite being a punch line for the last X years, Steelers fans continue to think they are actually the best team in the league that has failed to hoist a Lombardi only because of headset problems, warm Gatorade, unfair scheduling, mean referees and every other excuse possible except the actual one: They have built their team in a dumb way allocating resources in a crazy way, they are poorly coached and they aren’t good enough.

    ——————-
    There has certainly been some of that, and oh yeah, the constant ‘cheaters’ mantra. But thats all just knucklheads in the comments section and we certainly have our trolls too so whatever. My reference was more about what happens on the field.

  33. Wow, I actually thumbed up a FoozieGrooler post.
    What is the world coming to?

    This behavior isn’t unique to Pitt. Players in the Not For Long league are looking out for #1 more than ever before. Money, brand, exposure, hi-lights, High nites, High life, all more important than T>E>A>M and winning..

  34. I’m of the opinion that Bell can be fabulously good, but wasn’t in 2017. There is no way I think he is worth even a tag, let alone a big long term contract. Face it, there is enough receiving strength without him , and the two “subs” did more than average in 2017 and both should improve in 2018. Letting him go is no great risk. On the other hand, not getting a new DC is.

  35. Bell values weed just as much as money…his next offense will result in a one year suspension.
    The media refuses to report that.
    Whoever signs him had better put an ironclad clause in his deal that protects the team WHEN he gets busted again.

  36. Why does Bell need the Steelers? He can ply his trade for anyone willing to pay him what he wants. Unless you think Pittsburgh will pay more than anyone else?
    _________________________________________________________________________________________
    Why, because he won’t get a superbowl win anywhere else. He won’t be the same back once he leaves the Steelers. Bell is a great back, but he won’t be the same without a great line and Hall of fame qb and most teams don’t have the formula. Big Ben makes this team go round not Leveon Bell. But He does help the team reach new levels on the offense that James Conner I don’t believe can. The Steelers problems are more defensively, not the offense side of the ball.

  37. What channel are you watching? That’s just about all that they have been talking about except maybe Martavis Bryant’s suspension for a year. What hasn’t been reported is that both players have come through a year of intense media and league scrutiny with flying colors. Some fans though won’t ever warm to the accomplishments of players of color. Any slight misstep will be seized upon and magnified while positive acts minimized and ignored.

  38. I know people are gonna laugh but sign Bell for 1yr. That mileage is gonna show up in a couple years. And Big Ben has one year left in him. Brown then leaves to join Rogers or Brady. Yeah he’ll still be around

  39. Pittsburgh will not make the playoffs next season, Ben will retire, Tomlin will be fired and the Steelers will reside in the basement of the AFC North for the foreseeable future.

  40. A totally ignorant comment. Bell is the best runner, blocker, and receiver out of the backfield, in pro football, period. No one else is even close. And this season he demonstrated his durability over an entire season while maintaining the highest levels of reliability and performance. His output cannot be replaced in the offense, along with Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger. Along with the offensive line they comprise the finest offense in the N.F.L.

  41. steelcurtainn says:
    January 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm
    Why does Bell need the Steelers? He can ply his trade for anyone willing to pay him what he wants. Unless you think Pittsburgh will pay more than anyone else?
    _________________________________________________________________________________________
    Why, because he won’t get a superbowl win anywhere else.
    ———————————————————————————————————————
    What in the world makes you think he’s getting a SB win in Pittsburgh? It’s obvious they are headed in the other direction and peaked last year.

  42. As long as Tomlin lets the inmates run the asylum,this stuff will not go away. They need a coaching change if they want guys like Brown and Bell to be held in check.

  43. “don’t take the bait, and don’t compromise. It’s your right to pursue a max deal”

    Bell already REJECTED the max offer he’s ever gonna get. He had $42 mil guaranteed over the first 3 years alone of a 5 year contract, and he stuck his nose up at it and acted like it was disrespectful. Would have been BY FAR the highest paid RB in the game, on a long term deal with heavy guarantees, but apparently he is expecting franchise QB money.

    The guy is clueless. Whoever gives him anything close to what he wants will regret it not long after.

  44. Coffeehog says:
    walker1191 says:
    Coffeehog says:

    ——————-
    I hope the Steelers correct [their mistakes] and rise up to be in our face over and over.
    —————————————————————————————————-
    If Steeler fans weren’t so insufferable I might agree with you. But despite being a punch line for the last X years, Steelers fans continue to think they are actually the best team in the league that has failed to hoist a Lombardi only because of … every other excuse possible except the actual one: They have built their team in a dumb way allocating resources in a crazy way, they are poorly coached and they aren’t good enough.
    ——————-
    There has certainly been some of that, and oh yeah, the constant ‘cheaters’ mantra. But thats all just knucklheads in the comments section and we certainly have our trolls too so whatever. My reference was more about what happens on the field.
    ——————-

    Coffeehog, thank you for the intelligent comments in a sea of drivel. This Steelers fan also appreciates the intraconference rivalry and gets as tired of the cheating accusations some of our fans throw at the Pats as I do at the cheating claims made about our 70s team (when all teams were using steroids). Our team, like most, has things that need improvement. But it wasn’t built in a dumb way, our resources weren’t allocated in a crazy way, and our players aren’t poorly coached. The fact is that the Steelers are a Super Bowl-caliber team with the misfortune to play in the Belichick/Brady era … just as the Madden/Stabler Raiders were a Super Bowl caliber-team who had the misfortune to play in the Noll/Bradshaw era. Today’s Steelers, along with yesterday’s Raiders did get to the winner’s circle. But no matter how good you are, it’s difficult to consistently overcome playing against the best team of your time.

  45. They, Brown and Bell, both also cheated on their pregnant baes last year…Literally dumbest players in the league

  46. Most running backs are as good as their line and their quarterback. A good qb doesn’t just hand off. If he is a legit passing threat he keeps the D honest and opens up opportunities for his backs. There are great backs that make their own opportunities. Barry Sanders and, yes, OJ come to mind. Bell isn’t one of those backs. He’s good but not great. He doesn’t routinely gash the D for major yardage, he’s injury prone and he has off field baggage. Don’t let this guy hold the franchise hostage and break the bank. If he moves on, I get the feeling that he’s gonna realize that he had it good with the Steelers.

  47. If Bell would have signed the contract the Steelers offered last year, he would have made more money this past year and next year than he did/will under the tag. Then, if it made sense, they could have considered early another contract extension. Bell and his agent were too greedy last year and way overvalued Bell. He would have been the highest paid RB by a mile, but they felt it wasn’t good enough. For a RB with his alleged behavior and other issues and that did not have a run longer than 27 yards this past season, I think that was a massive error in judgement to not accept that contract last year. You rarely get the time or money made up.

  48. Tomlin has no control of the kids he drafted in the Burgh. Tomlin should be the one fired, yet he continues to waste talent, cannot get a team ready for a big game but he does have a nice speech on Monday mornings.

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