Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t sound like they’ll be making amends any time soon, so the running back is at a bit of an impasse.
Bell has continued his much-publicized contract holdout into the regular season, and there are no signs of him reporting to the Steelers in the near future. He’s angling to be the highest-paid running back ever, but the Steelers don’t appear willing to make that commitment, instead preferring to hit him with the franchise tag again.
The 26-year-old will become a free agent after this season, but in order for that to happen he needs to report by Nov. 13 (or about 10 weeks into the regular season) in order for him to accrue the proper service time to actually become a free agent.
With that in mind, ex-Steeler James Harrison has an idea for Bell, albeit a shady one.
Fake an injury.
During an appearance on FOX Sports 1’s “Undisputed,” Harrison laid out his plan.
“If I’m Le’Veon … I’m coming back, what is it, Nov. 13?” Harrison said, as transcribed by ESPN. “I’m going to go in there, I’m gonna get my credit this season that I need to get and I’m going to do the best I can to get out of this season healthy.
“For me, I’d give you everything at practice. You’d see — the cameras would see — that I’m fine, I’m healthy. But come Saturday, ‘Something ain’t right. I can’t play on Sunday.’ Because if I go out here and I mess something up, I’m losing a lot of money.”
If there’s anyone who knows about leaving the Steelers on a rough note, it’s Harrison, so there’s at least some merit in that. However, Bell is in a much different point in his career than Harrison was upon his departure from Pittsburgh, and faking an injury understandably may make some teams skeptical this offseason.
The Steelers reportedly are listening to trade offers for the disgruntled back, and at this point, parting ways via a trade may be best for both sides.