Le’Veon Bell means business.
The Pittsburgh Steelers star has been one of the premier running backs in the NFL the past few seasons, but he’s still yet to receive the long-term contract he covets. After a lengthy negotiation stalemate between Bell and the Steelers over the summer, the 25-year-old eventually agreed to play for the franchise tag, which will pay him $12.1 million for the 2017 season.
But it appears Bell refuses to let history repeat itself.
Although the franchise tag for running backs is expected to increase by $2 million in 2018, Bell informed ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that he has no interest in playing under the tag next season. In fact, he’d consider sitting out the entire campaign or even retire.
“I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I would definitely consider it,” Bell told Fowler on Thursday.
“Just get the numbers straight, exactly where we want them,” he continued. “I’m not going to settle for anything. I know what I do and what I bring to the table. I’m not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I’m not getting what I feel I’m valued at.”
Pittsburgh will have between Feb. 20 and March 6 to tag Bell. From there, it will have until July 16 to work out a long-term contract. It’s hard to imagine the Steelers squandering a supreme talent such as Bell, but when it comes to the business side of football, you never really know.