Le’Veon Bell Ruled Ineligible For Rest Of The Season

Tom Brady scrambles in the Pats loss to the Titans

Tweeted ESPN's Adam Schefter: "Le'Veon Bell is not reporting to the Steelers by the 4 pm deadline today and is now ineligible to play the remainder of the 2018 season, source tells ESPN".

"I understand that business is an element of this", Tomlin said.

In a move that will likely propel the Steelers running back into free agency in the offseason, Bell won't sign the team's franchise tag tender on Tuesday.

The Steelers drafted Bell with the 48th overall pick in the 2013 draft, won over by his youth, size and versatility. He took it a step further this year by missing games after turning down a five-year, $70 million offer because of what Bell calls a low true guarantee of $17 million.

Head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters earlier on Tuesday that he had no expectation as to whether or not Bell would report.

Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers avoids a tackle by C.J. Mosley #57 of the Baltimore Ravens as he runs into the end zone after a catch for a 20 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter during the game at Heinz Field on December 10, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Once again, the Steelers franchise-tagged Bell after the season. The first two - linebacker Karlos Dansby and quarterback Kirk Cousins - played all 16 games during their second season under the tag then went and cashed in elsewhere in free agency. It's been a long, extended staring contest between the star running back and the franchise.

Players were surprised when Bell didn't show for Week 1, with his own offensive line ripping him for the absence.

Only he didn't. And when preparations for Pittsburgh's Week 1 trip to Cleveland began without Bell, several of his teammates - particularly the offensive line - vented their frustrations publicly.

It really should come as no shock to anyone that Bell intends to sit out. He returned to Pittsburgh last week and even played some pickup basketball at a fitness centre.

Rocky franchise-tag negotiations created distance between Bell and the Steelers.

It's as close to breaking a sweat with the Steelers as Bell will get. In support of the guy who replaced him, no less.

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