Bell to end holdout in Week 7.
The news that the Pittsburgh Steelers, their fans, and Le'Veon Bell fantasy football owners have been waiting for has finally arrived. Le'Veon Bell will be reporting to the team during their Week 7 bye.
According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, Bell plans to be ready for the Steelers' Week 8 home game against the Cleveland Browns on October 28, and will "decide how much practice time he needs accordingly." In an interview with Fowler, the 26-year old Pro Bowler said he's in prime physical condition and could play football "tomorrow" if he needed.
"Right now, I'm as close as close to Year 3. I feel strong, explosive, fast. I think the biggest thing for me now is my mental is a lot stronger. I'm a lot stronger than I was."
Additionally, Bell says he is "fully committed" to playing his best for Pittsburgh and is still hopeful that he'll be able to resign a long-term deal with the organization. That said, Fowler reports that Bell believes the Jets, 49ers, Colts, Browns and Eagles would be among teams interested in signing him as a free agent next offseason.
"I could be naïve or hopeful, but at the end of the day I feel like that's what's going to happen," Bell tells Fowler about re-signing with the Steelers. "I don't think they really want me gone. That could be me being prideful. But I'm still holding out hope."
In speaking of his lengthy holdout, in which he forfeits more than $850,000 for each week that he remains away from the team, Bell says it "sucks" but adds, "I've gotta take this stand." The Steelers offered Bell a $70 million contract over the summer but he referred to it as "Monopoly money" because it only included $17 million in guarantees.
"It sucks having to sit out football," Bell said by telephone from South Florida on Monday, according to ESPN. "I want to play. I want to win games and the playoffs.
"But I've gotta take this stand. Knowing my worth and knowing I can tear a ligament or get surgery at any time, I knew I couldn't play 16 games with 400 or more touches."
"It's costing me some fans," Bell said. "A lot of people call me selfish but I'm really not. I'm doing it for guys behind me or guys who don't understand what's going on in the business of football. The 22 years I've been playing football, I've always brought value. I don't think the Steelers valued me as much."
The Steelers, 1-2-1, will host the 1-3 Atlanta Falcons in Week 5, followed by a road game against the Cincinnati Bengals before their Week 7 bye.