PITTSBURGH (AP) — Le’Veon Bell won’t play in 2018.
The star running back declined to sign his one-year $14.4 million franchise tender with the Pittsburgh Steelers by Tuesday’s deadline, making him ineligible to suit up for the AFC North-leading Steelers or anyone else this season.
The unusual decision to sit out won’t prevent Bell from becoming a free agent next spring, when the three-time Pro Bowler hopes to cash in with a contract that would make him the highest-paid back in the NFL.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin seemed resigned to Bell’s decision shortly before the 4 p.m. deadline, saying simply “so be it” when asked about the possibility of Bell never returning to the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2013 draft and helped mold him into one of the league’s top players.
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