Tim Benz: Le’Veon Bell’s latest jab at Steelers is laughable | TribLIVE.com
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Tim Benz: Le’Veon Bell’s latest jab at Steelers is laughable

Tim Benz
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AP
New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell walks the field as his team warms up before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J.
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AP
New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell participates in a drill at the team’s NFL football training facility in Florham Park, N.J., Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Le’Veon Bell lobbed one more shot at the Pittsburgh Steelers before the start of the 2019 season.

And this one was just a plain old quote. Not a tweet or a mumbled rhyme in a terrible rap track.

Check out this hot take from the New York Jets running back.

“It didn’t work out in Pittsburgh. I’m out of Pittsburgh,” Bell told USA Today. “And now I’m in a new city, a new team, and a lot of people haven’t even given us a chance ‘cause they don’t like our roster. They think we don’t have the talent.”

It appears Hines Ward’s “nobody gave me a chance” routine is rubbing off quickly on Bell in the Big Apple.

“I’m thinking I’m going to show everybody,” Bell continued. “I’m going to show people that, look, Pittsburgh had something special, and they let it go. That’s what I’m going to go out there and do.”

I’ll agree with Bell’s assessment that he is going to be a force in New York. I think he’s going to be very productive there.

But the suggestion the Steelers front office simply “let him go” and turned up their nose at his talent is absurd. These are the ramblings of a lunatic.

Hey, Le’V, the Steelers franchise-tagged you. That’s precisely the opposite of “letting you go.” That’s an attempt to keep you at the expense of a big chunk of their salary cap — twice — in an attempt to pay you vast sums of money over multiple years.

How is that just “letting you go” exactly? Regardless of what Bell may think of the fairness of the franchise tag, the Steelers applied it to him in 2017 and 2018 because they desperately wanted to retain him.

To the tune of $12.1 million in ’17 and an attempt to pay him $14.54 million in ‘18.

An attempt he rebuffed.

Actually, it’s a lot easier to make the argument that Bell gave up on his team than it would be to infer that the Steelers gave up on him.

One thing is clear from these comments by Bell. He still has no concept of what the Steelers’ offer really was about.

Or, better said, he has no willingness to admit he was looking for more money and didn’t get it.

Bell’s agent Adisa Bakari came up $10 million short of the $45 million goal of matching Todd Gurley’s contract.

Instead, Bell will likely get $35 million after the first two years. That was, reportedly, about $2 million more than what the Steelers were willing to pay.

Well, before you get into the $14.5 million he would’ve gotten from at least playing on the franchise tag last year, or the realization that the Steelers’ structured offer never would’ve resulted in them cutting him before 2020 was over anyway, thus paying him his $45 million over three years to begin with.

More importantly, what Bell truly doesn’t grasp is that if he wanted to make this decision about money, then make it about money. Don’t give us an emotionally manipulative sob story about being disrespected, while at the same time telling us you’re happy with the way things worked out with the new contract.

Either Bell was wronged by the Steelers, got the short end of the stick, and now has something to prove. Or he won the contract game he was playing.

Which one is it?

“I would do everything the same,” Bell also said to USA Today. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Ok. Great. If things turned out the way Bell wanted, then he should drop the phony persecution complex and make this about the financial decision that it was in the first place.

Or he can just shut up. Play football. Move on. And let the Steelers do the same.

That would probably be best for all involved.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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