In case there was any doubt, the Steelers have now made it official: Le'Veon Bell is not playing for them, or anyone else, in 2018.
Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert issued a statement on Bell, the franchise running back who has not signed his tender, as soon as the deadline for him to sign it passed at 4 p.m. Eastern today.
“I want to confirm that Le’Veon Bell did not sign his Franchise Tender today and, as a result, he will not be eligible to play football during the 2018 season,” Colbert said in the statement.
That almost certainly ends Bell’s career with the Steelers. He’s expected to sign with some other team in free agency in 2019, and the Steelers will move on without him. Thanks to the outstanding play of James Conner this season, they haven’t missed, and if anything they may be glad that Bell didn’t sign his franchise tag, which saved the team $14.5 million.