Le'Veon Bell relayed Wednesday that he intends to play in 2018, be it under the Steelers' franchise tag or on a new long-term contract with the team, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports.
Le'Veon Bell received the franchise tag prior to Tuesday's 4:00 p.m. EST deadline, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reports.
Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers have yet to make major progress on a contract extension, ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler reports.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Thursday that the team prefers to ink Le'Veon Bell to a long-term contract extension this offseason rather than applying the franchise tag on the running back, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports. "We never will discount the use of the tag because that's collectively bargained," Colbert said Thursday. "But again, our goal is to have something done on a long-term basis.
Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers have reportedly "made significant progress" on a possible contract extension, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. "We are a lot closer than we were last year," Bell said Wednesday.
Le'Veon Bell said Sunday following the Steelers' 45-42 loss to the Jaguars in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs that he would like to return to Pittsburgh for the 2018 season, but acknowledged the possibility of playing elsewhere, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com reports. "I never want to leave [Pittsburgh]," Bell said. "But obviously, circumstances and things like that. But I definitely don't."
Le'Veon Bell ran for 67 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, and caught nine passes on 13 targets for 88 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 45-42 AFC divisional-round loss to Jacksonville.
Le'Veon Bell suggested that he's prepared to sit out next season, or possibly even retire, if the Steelers use their franchise tag on him for the second straight year, ESPN.com reports. "I hope it doesn't come to that, but I would definitely consider it," Bell said Thursday.
Bell (non-injury related) was listed as a limited participant in Thursday's practice. According to Tim Benz of TribLive.com, Steelers offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert suggested that Bell won't play Sunday against the Browns, though head coach Mike Tomlin has yet to confirm as much. "[Ben Roethlisberger isn't] there [Sunday] so [Cleveland will] get a little taste of Landry Jones," Gilbert noted. "We'll have Landry Jones in there. We won't have Ben. Or [Antonio Brown (lower leg)]. Or Le'Veon Bell."
Le'Veon Bell rushed 14 times for 69 yards and a touchdown while adding five catches for 28 yards on eight targets in Monday's 34-6 win over Houston.