Mike Tomlin hopes Le’Veon Bell arrives sooner, in better shape than last year

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Last year Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell didn’t sign his franchise tag and report to the team until training camp and the preseason were over. This year coach Mike Tomlin hopes that’s not the case.

Tomlin told CBS Sports that he would like to see Bell in camp, and in better shape, than last year.

“I’m hopeful that he’ll get to us sooner. I’m hopeful that he’ll be in better condition even than he was a year ago,” Tomlin said.

It’s hard to see any reason Bell would have for reporting earlier this year than last year. Bell wanted a long-term contract, and when he and the Steelers failed to agree on one before the deadline for franchise players to sign, it seemed a near-certainty that Bell would wait until just before the start of the regular season to report.

As for reporting in better shape, last year Bell did get off to a somewhat slow start, carrying just 10 times for 32 yards and adding three catches for 15 yards in Week One. But he had a strong season, and he’ll be motivated to have another strong season in a contract year, so he’s likely going to show up in good shape. Even if he’s not there until the preseason is over.

67 responses to “Mike Tomlin hopes Le’Veon Bell arrives sooner, in better shape than last year

  1. The Gurley deal made the offer PIT made look like a joke. Can’t blame Bell for sitting out, especially at the RB position. If he had agreed to the franchise tag and gotten hurt, he’d never have a shot again at earning the contract he’s seeking.

  2. Boy, Pitt really likes to publicly trash their marquee players after low-balling them… first Brown and now Bell. Their image of being a classy organization from the Art Rooney years has to be coasting on fumes.

  3. nathanp2013 says:
    July 31, 2018 at 5:22 pm
    Boy, Pitt really likes to publicly trash their marquee players after low-balling them… first Brown and now Bell. Their image of being a classy organization from the Art Rooney years has to be coasting on fumes.

    5 1 Rate This

    Asking a guy you are paying over 14 mill to be in shape which is part of his job description I don’t believe is publicly trashing anyone.

  4. tokyosandblaster says:
    July 31, 2018 at 5:35 pm
    I’m just glad that the Packers don’t have any holdouts.

    Then again, we just draft better human beings…who just happen to be better football players.

    0 0 Rate This

    What’s your extension? I’d like call the front office and speak to you about “your” amazing acquisition “you” make yearly.

  5. speicher145 says:
    If he had agreed to the franchise tag and gotten hurt, he’d never have a shot again at earning the contract he’s seeking.
    ===

    I love people who play the “IF” game selectively in order to suit their particular point of view.
    You’re correct: If Le’Veon Bell signed his tag offer and got hurt playing he’d potentially lose his shot at a long-term deal. At least he’d walk away with the guaranteed $14 million for signing the offer.
    Since he hasn’t yet signed the offer, “IF” Bell were to get hurt seriously outside of football — and there are an infinite number of ways to do it, be it his fault or someone else’s — Bell would forfeit $14 million for this season AND have no chance at the long-term deal he covets.
    There are two sides to every coin, and nothing in life is risk-free. Until he signs the tag Bell is guaranteed no money from anyone. Holding out potentially carries as big a risk as reporting and possibly getting hurt — perhaps more.

  6. I’d pay more for a well rested in shape RB than one who exhausted the tank in a contract year. Lesean missing hits is better for his career, and he does well juking.

  7. speicher145 says:
    July 31, 2018 at 5:12 pm
    The Gurley deal made the offer PIT made look like a joke. Can’t blame Bell for sitting out, especially at the RB position. If he had agreed to the franchise tag and gotten hurt, he’d never have a shot again at earning the contract he’s seeking.

    —————————————————————————-

    The Gurley deal made the rams look like a joke.

  8. Can someone please explain to me the rationale behind staying away at this stage now that we know a long term deal isn’t going to get done regardless? Is it just to avoid injury during camp? What if he gets injured now while training on his own? Wouldn’t he be guaranteed his money if injured in camp? Surely he’d max out his chance for a big season by being with the team now and get a big payday on the open market next year.

    This site seems to think it’s a given that staying away now is the correct course of action but it’s not so clear to me.

  9. Hanging out in Strip Clubs ain’t going to get him in football shape or in camp earlier, but it may make him eligible for the NFI List because of syphilitic gonorrhea…..

  10. “I’m hopeful that he’ll get to us sooner. I’m hopeful that he’ll be in better condition even than he was a year ago,” Tomlin said.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I was hopeful that the Steelers would fire a coach who literally ran onto the field to trip an opposing player. Sigh.

  11. The Steelers are paying Bell over $14M for the season. Tomlin and the team have every right to expect Bell to show up in time and in shape.

  12. “I agree, that guy really let himself go.” — Ben Roethelisberger from inside a giant cheesecake

  13. Bell will be ready and in shape. He hasn’t got that long term contract yet. The defense needs to be ready to dominate this year and in the playoffs for this team to claim number 7. Simple as that.

  14. LeVeon Bell is not under contract to the Steelers and is under no obligation to Mike Tomlin to be working out to get ready for the season. If its so important that Bell attend train8ng camp then maybe Pittsburgh should have made him a Gurley like contract offer instead of tryimg to lowball him.

    Bell or no Bell the Steelers will once again be outcoached when it matters most.

  15. I can’t see it happening in this instance, but Carolina pulled the franchise tag they had applied to Josh Norman before he showed up to sign it…..Matter of fact, I didn’t foresee that happening either, so I guess it’s possible. Like some others have said, God help the boy if he gets hurt outside of football before he signs the tender.

  16. nhpats

    Actually the Steelers are paying Bell zero dollars right now. They franchise tagged him and he hasnt signed it yet. Bell owes Tomlin and the Steelers nothing 7ntil he signs.

  17. Boy I don’t get you guys. The Rams give Gurley some stupid contract and all of the sudden the Steelers low balled Bell? Don’t forget he is one slip up from being suspended for the year but I guess that doesn’t factor into it.

  18. Ron Jull says:
    Actually the Steelers are paying Bell zero dollars right now. They franchise tagged him and he hasnt signed it yet. Bell owes Tomlin and the Steelers nothing 7ntil he signs.
    ===

    Semantics, therefore a moot point.
    True, Le’Veon Bell owes Pittsburgh nothing until he signs. But knowing once he signs the tag the $14 million is guaranteed, he’ll show up in time to get paid. I know it, and so do you. No way in hell he sits out the season and forfeits $14 million.
    If he’s going to accept that kind of money — regardless of when he does it — Bell will owe it to the Steelers to show up in premium shape. Although nhpats probably should have written “will pay” instead of “are paying,” in reality your comment does nothing to nullify or contradict what he wrote.

  19. Would any of you go to work if you werent getting paid? No, you wouldnt, then why should Bell? Hes not under contract and until he is hes free to do what he wants.

    Who’s worse? Mike Tomlin, or Jason Garrett?

  20. Ron Jull says:
    July 31, 2018 at 7:01 pm
    Would any of you go to work if you werent getting paid? No, you wouldnt, then why should Bell? Hes not under contract and until he is hes free to do what he wants.

    Who’s worse? Mike Tomlin, or Jason Garrett?

    —————-
    He is going to sign the contract……on that there is no doubt. He should just do it and get to work and be part of the team.

    As to your question, it’s not even close….Garret is worse.

  21. peicher145 says:
    July 31, 2018 at 5:12 pm
    The Gurley deal made the offer PIT made look like a joke. Can’t blame Bell for sitting out, especially at the RB position. If he had agreed to the franchise tag and gotten hurt, he’d never have a shot again at earning the contract he’s seeking.

    SURE IT DOES….BUT:

    Once the Rams have to pay a QB, ALL of those massive contracts Cooks, Donald [ if/when] etc…WILL go away…As it stands now, the Rams remind me of the Manning Colts, extremely top heavy with absolutely no depth, and bottom 25 of their roster will be trash…May work for a year..Seattle???..but long term peaks and valleys coming soon…Miami and Falcons made same mistakes…got them nothing.

  22. Wouldn’t be the same without Peter’s exhaustive coverage of the NFL’s chosen ones teams.

  23. yeah i’m sure after getting low-balled again he’ll show right up because the second coming of coach lombardi said so.

  24. I hope this gets resolved and he gets into camp. He really does need to do training camp to be at max. Sure he can be really good, fantastic even, without camp. But whatever he can do without camp he can do better with. I would really like to see the Steelers full strength this year.

  25. We laugh and make fun of a lot of teams out there, and half the time we’re right. There are a lot of pro football teams that don’t operate very well. The Steelers are not one of them. They’ve been a great franchise for decades. They’re not perfect, but they rarely make big mistakes. There are other franchises throughout history that overpaid players, were good for a short while, then went into salary cap hell. So the Steelers don’t need to copy what we see other teams doing. Take the Rams for example. They’re paying everyone. That’s great, but I’ll take the Steelers’ trophy case over the Rams any day. There are plenty of other teams out there that can use our advice. The Steelers just don’t happen to be one of them.

  26. pssst…Pittsburg. Players don’t really wanna play for your penny pinching organization anymore. You just ain’t all that, folks.

  27. citpyrc says:
    July 31, 2018 at 6:53 pm
    Boy I don’t get you guys. The Rams give Gurley some stupid contract and all of the sudden the Steelers low balled Bell? Don’t forget he is one slip up from being suspended for the year but I guess that doesn’t factor into it.
    —‘
    When you offer a $10 million full guarantee on a 5 year contract while the player is staring at a $14.55 million fully gauranteed franchise tag for 1 year I’m not sure how that doesn’t qualify as a lowball offer. For the millionth time the only thing that matters in NFL contracts are the guarantees.

    Last, it appears you and others don’t know how NFL suspensions work. When a player is suspended for drugs, criminal offense, etc then the player forfeits his game check and it’s standard that the team can also go after some or all of his guarantees. In fact a team can void the remaining of a player’s contract also. So what exactly is the point of people like you constantly obsessing about this?

    The Steelers were the ones who franchised Bell a second time and only offering $10 million fully gaurant eed on a 5 year contract. They are the catalyst for this situation. They could have let Bell go test the market yet they didn’t. It’s a little silly that all the venom is thrown at a guy who didn’t create this situation.

  28. I don’t get why he didn’t take what the Steelers offered?? If I’m Pitt I franchise him this, possibly even next year and let him walk after….Vikes should do the same with Barr…just franchise him at least 2 years….3rd year is debatable but by then the 3rd year will probably seem cheap.

  29. Tebow, Bortles, Tripgate. Sometimes Tomlin makes Marvin Lewis actually look legit.

  30. It just amazes me how an Organization can sign players like Justin Gilbert and Joe Hayden and not sign actual good players but still manage to win 10 games every year. Mean while, stacked teams like Detroit can’t seem to win 5 to 8 games. I’m starting to think it’s not about the players but about the program.

  31. “It just amazes me how an Organization can sign players like Justin Gilbert and Joe Hayden and not sign actual good players but still manage to win 10 games every year. Mean while, stacked teams like Detroit can’t seem to win 5 to 8 games. I’m starting to think it’s not about the players but about the program.”

    The Steelers were 13 & 3 last year after getting hosed in the New England game. They have more Superbowl’s than any other team and have for a very long time. When you say “I’m starting to think”………you really shouldn’t.

  32. Well, you wanted a bee, so he did what do bees do, bumble in his own time & take all your nectar.

  33. The Steelers have a game plan in place for Bell. Ride him and run him ragged this season, draft a running back to replace him then cut bait. This what the Cowboys did with DeMarco Murray who was never the same after his 2,000 yard season when they ran him into the ground.

  34. snakerd says:
    July 31, 2018 at 5:53 pm
    Can someone please explain to me the rationale behind staying away at this stage now that we know a long term deal isn’t going to get done regardless? Is it just to avoid injury during camp? What if he gets injured now while training on his own? Wouldn’t he be guaranteed his money if injured in camp? Surely he’d max out his chance for a big season by being with the team now and get a big payday on the open market next year.

    This site seems to think it’s a given that staying away now is the correct course of action but it’s not so clear to me.
    ————-

    All NFL players hate training camp.

  35. Tomlon has never had a losing season and won the SB after inheriting an 8-8 team from Cowher. He’s a lock for the HOF despite the thinly disguised hate and lies that have little to do with coaching as portrayed by some on here.

  36. If he signs the franchise tag he gets paid in pre season doesn’t he?
    These hold outs not only hurts the team but the player also.
    If Bell gets paid after signing the franchise tag for pre season (which I am not sure of) why wouldn’t he get into training camp, get in shape and have his best season. I think Steelers need to sign him to a LT deal. What team has these three? Big Ben, AB and Bell?

  37. tokyosandblaster says:

    July 31, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    I’m just glad that the Packers don’t have any holdouts.

    Then again, we just draft better human beings…who just happen to be better football players

    ————————

    Yea, instead the Packers just don’t draft well so they don’t have this problem. The Packers have average skill position players and they would rather just let go, than franchise tag them or even consider a deal. The only reason the team is competitive is because of Rodgers.

    The Packers would be more than happy to have a player of Bell’s level of talent. Green Bay hasn’t had a running game in years and #12 has to carry your team year after year. That’s why they falter in the playoffs more often than not.

  38. If the Steelers are spending the money on other players, you can’t (accurately) call them cheap or penny-pinching. If they pay Bell what he would be worth as a free agent, they will have several million dollars less to spend elsewhere on the roster.

  39. Get a clue people!
    Bell is 26, and will be 27 in Feb 2019. Bell loves weed and has been suspended for using it. Bell also is injury prone.
    Gurley will be 24 on 8/3. Gurley has missed ONE game in 3 years. No suspensions either.
    One is a suspension waiting to happen, the other is about to run all over the NFL.
    Gurley’s value is far greater than Bell’s.
    You might not like to hear that but it’s the truth.

  40. Rams should’ve signed Donald long term instead of Gurley. They’ll regret that..

  41. Have a feeling all these tough talking anti – Bell Steeler fans will be screaming like a banshee waving their terrible towels like maniacs when Bell hits the first big play upon his return .

  42. ajzinnecker says:
    August 1, 2018 at 8:17 am
    tokyosandblaster says:

    Yea, instead the Packers just don’t draft well so they don’t have this problem. The Packers have average skill position players and they would rather just let go, than franchise tag them or even consider a deal. The only reason the team is competitive is because of Rodgers.
    The Packers would be more than happy to have a player of Bell’s level of talent. Green Bay hasn’t had a running game in years and #12 has to carry your team year after year. That’s why they falter in the playoffs more often than not.

    —–

    Sorry, Vikes fan, but no team falters more in the playoffs than your pathetically dismal squad.

  43. exhelodrvr says:
    August 1, 2018 at 9:00 am
    If the Steelers are spending the money on other players, you can’t (accurately) call them cheap or penny-pinching. If they pay Bell what he would be worth as a free agent, they will have several million dollars less to spend elsewhere on the roster.

    ———————-
    As much as Steelers fans hate the Patriots, take a step back and look at what they do. Ask yourself why they manage to be the boogeyman every year after year. Then maybe be happy if you see your own team adopting the same methodology. Take it as a sign of hope.

  44. I’m not exactly Bell’s biggest fan,but is it right for Tomlin to make that statement to the media about him? I mean, Roethlisberger shows up fat and out of shape every single year, and you don’t ever hear him mention it.

  45. Steelers don’t need to overpay Bell.
    Long term deal with him is a mistake.
    14M is way too much.
    2yr at 8-10m each is more appropriate. Not sure backs are even worth that much anymore. WR are not worth 14m. (Aaron Donald is, but not 20m.)

    Teams letting players hold out and then forgiving fines is another big reason this stuff happens. (I realize that does not apply in THIS case, but does in most holdouts.)

  46. Wait until the last preseason game then withdraw the tag.
    Use the cap space to extend other players.

  47. citpyrc says:
    July 31, 2018 at 6:53 pm
    Boy I don’t get you guys. The Rams give Gurley some stupid contract and all of the sudden the Steelers low balled Bell? Don’t forget he is one slip up from being suspended for the year but I guess that doesn’t factor into it.

    ——————

    First, players should be paid as much as possible when you consider what the owners make. So in a sense I really don’t begrudge them for trying to get as much as possible.

    I hate the whole ” set the market” thing. I understand the economics of sports and how it works, but if one team agrees to a “bad” contract every team should?

    I know it’s a different animal with no cap, ETC, but all you have to do is look at baseball and how some of the contracts have torn the landscape up. I am a Tigers fan, and while I 100% agree that Miguel Carbera had to be signed and paid long term as he was certainly one of the best if not THE best player in the MLB for many years. With that said (not factoring in that he got hurt) now he is on the downslope of his career stuck on a rebuilding team because his contract is untouchable. He still has gas left in the tank and could help to put a team over the hump , but no one can take on the money.

    I also never understood a player being angry about being tagged- you are getting a fully guaranteed year at a reasonably premium rate. If they tag you again next year your pay sy rockets. It worked well for Cousins.

    It really comes down to this- you can’t have everything. A player can sign a couple year deal with more cash,bet on themselves and hit FA / renegotiation sooner, or they can sign the long term deal.

    I really think that assuming the current contract parameters stay in place that you are going to see a shift to shorter contracts.

  48. I can see a next stage where owners simply start rejecting big contracts in cases like this, OBJ, Mack, etc. You can already see the strain and how long it’s taking for contracts to get done.

    None of these players make half the difference a good QB does, and at some point a few owners are just going to say, no – you’re not worth it. You’re a great player and you make us better, but paying you this much would hurt us too much. You’re worth a lot of money, but not this much, so we’re just not going to do it. Play out your contract or lose your pay, and you can sign with someone else when it’s over.

  49. bradygirl12 says:
    August 1, 2018 at 10:37 am

    I’m not exactly Bell’s biggest fan,but is it right for Tomlin to make that statement to the media about him? I mean, Roethlisberger shows up fat and out of shape every single year, and you don’t ever hear him mention it.

    ================

    That’s because 1) he shows up, and doesn’t leave the team hanging; 2) He may not look great, but he plays great, consistently one of the best QBs in the league for far longer than Bell has been in the league.

    Look at Bell’s stats from last season. He didn’t hit 100 yards rushing in a game ’til week 4, and only managed it 4 times all season. Which is the same number of games where he rushed for less than 50 yards in a game. To the outside observer, it definitely took him a while to get going after he stayed away.

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