The Steelers' offseason is once more being played out with the long shadow of another Le'Veon Bell contract dispute hanging over it.
The All Pro back is set to play under the franchise tag for the second consecutive season unless the parties can agree upon a long-term deal by the league mandated date of July 16.
Bell will make $14.5 million in 2018 under the tag, but is clearly in the market for a game-changing contract for a running back. His stubbornness, matched against Kevin Colbert's, looks as though it's going to force the 26-year-old into becoming a free agent again in 2019.
That isn't good news for either side. Bell might look to walk and find someone that will pay him what he believes he's worth in that situation, or should he decide to stay and retain the same contract demands he'll likely find himself playing under the tag for a third straight year.
Bell is holding out of offseason activities again, and didn't show up for the start of OTA's on Wednesday. That prompted one of his teammates to speak out on the situation and it's fair to say the Pro Bowl rusher is wanted at the facility sooner rather than later.
Antonio Brown made a plea to his teammate to show up to training camp amidst his contract dispute last year, and he's having to do the same again in 2018.
The Steelers star wideout got his money last offseason, landing a four-year, $68 million extension, and though he understands that Bell only wants what he's worth, he wants his teammate to be on the practice field with the rest of the team.
"The first rule of getting better is showing up," Brown told reporters. "You can't make anything better without showing up. And I think if he shows up, make everyone understands where he wants to be, he wants to be here not just for this year but for years to come, come out here and show up. Show up and get better. Show guys you're serious."
Brown clearly thinks that showing up to the facility will improve Bell's chances of getting closer to the number he has in mind, but his message seems to be falling on deaf ears yet again.
Bell has threatened to repeat last year's antics multiple times since the end of the season, and it certainly looks as though he's prepared to stomp his feet and refuse to cooperate with the team until he gets paid.
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