Le'Veon Bell pondering retirement if Steelers franchise tag him again

Would Le'Veon Bell really retire after this season

Would Le'Veon Bell really retire after this season

"I hope it doesn't come to that, but I would definitely consider it", Bell said Thursday.

"I don't think we got enough attempts", Bell said after the 21-point loss, adding, "I feel we're a good enough team to wear guys out whether they know we're running the ball or not". "I know what I do and what I bring to the table".

Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is playing this season under the NFL's franchise tag, and he is not interested in doing so again next year.

Bell's threat to retire is probably a bluff, but that doesn't mean he has no right to be exasperated at playing another season under the franchise tag (which pays a player no less than the average of the top five salaries at his position).

Bell was a workhouse for Pittsburgh this season, rushing for 1,291 yards on 321 carries, while also catching 85 passes.

Pittsburgh can tag Bell again next season at a projected cost of more than $14 million.

He has 7,996 yards from scrimmage since entering the National Football League in 2013.

One of those picks could be used to select Bell's replacement, as the Steelers don't have a lot now on the roster at running back beyond James Conner, who ended his rookie season on IR with an MCL injury. "They tag me again, it will be me [saying], 'OK, do I want to play on the tag or do I not want to play on the tag?' That's what it comes down to".

As one veteran Steeler told me, when a player says something silly, his teammates just make fun of him behind the scenes. This could be Bell's only chance to hit the open market in his prime and land a lucrative contract.

And I cringed because Bell should have known better than to answer that question, even if it might have been conversational and even if he might not have thought it was a big deal. GM Kevin Colbert would then have to weigh what's best; for an aging roster and a Super Bowl window that might be closing, he could decide it behooves the team to get the 2018 selection. If I am playing this game, I want to set standards for all the other running backs behind me, like Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon, guys like that. I feel I can do that. Perhaps it was his way of trying to show how committed he is to wanting to stay in Pittsburgh for the long-haul and win it all this year.

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