Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey didn’t mince words when discussing Le’Veon Bell’s failure to report to sign his $14.54 million franchise tender.
“Honestly, it’s a little selfish,” the 29-year-old Pouncey said, via Triblive.com. “I’m kind of (angry) right now. It (stinks) that he’s not here. We’ll move on as a team. It doesn’t look like he’ll be in the game plan at this point (for Sunday against the Cleveland Browns). (James) Conner looks great. We’ll worry about (Bell) in Week 2.”
Bell may not be available for Week 2 — or even longer, given the remarks of his agent Adisa Bakari on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Wednesday. The 26-year-old Bell would have to report prior to Week 11 to earn an accrued year toward free agency and hit the open market in 2019.
“(We’ll find out) when we find out,” Bakari said. “I think Mike Tomlin said it best yesterday. He’ll get there when he’s there and we’ll address those issues when he arrives.”
The Steelers released a statement to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala in response to Bakari’s comments.
“We are not going to discuss any conversations through the media. If Adisa would like to talk further, he has the phone number to our offices,” the statement read.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Steelers are not expected to rescind the franchise tender for Bell.
Pouncey feels he sees the writing on the wall.
“We just finally accept things at some point and you’re like, ‘All right, if you don’t want to be here, it is what it is. Hold out for 10 weeks,” Pouncey said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Fellow offensive lineman Ramon Foster also unloaded on Bell.
“What do you do? Here’s a guy who does’t give a damn, I guess so we’ll treat it as such. I just hate it came to this,” the 32-year-old Foster said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s making seven times what I make twice as much as Al (Villanueva) is making and we’re the guys who do it for him.”
Bell was absent from team activities since the deadline for team to sign franchise-tagged players to an extension passed on July 16.
He could lose up to $855,000 per game if he remains absent.
Bell struggled out of the blocks in 2017 before finishing the season with 1,291 rushing yards and 85 receptions for 655 yards. Bell was selected to the Pro Bowl for the third time and was named All-Pro for the second time.