Steelers Players ‘Tired of Bell’s Antics’

Pouncey and Foster sound off as Bell again absent

Josh Rowntree
September 05, 2018 - 4:47 pm
Steelers offensive linemen Ramon Foster and Maurkice Pouncey at practice in 2018

Josh Rowntree - 93.7 The Fan

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Only two days after publicly supporting Le’Veon Bell in his holdout, Steelers players had a different tone Wednesday, as Bell again did not show up. 

“I just felt confident that he was going to come,” said center Maurkice Pouncey, who said Monday that he anticipated Bell’s arrival Wednesday. “But, now that he didn’t, obviously it’s Le’Veon over the Steelers. We’re the Steelers and we’re going to play as the Steelers.”

“It’s always better to speak your own opinions about things and, obviously, when you don’t say nothing at all, people have judgement. And rightfully so.”

Guard Ramon Foster, who is the Steelers player representative in the NFLPA, appeared frustrated by Bell not informing them that he would not arrive, especially when others are preparing for a season and a game Sunday in Cleveland.

“You sacrifice so much in this damn sport,” he said. “You miss time with your family. My mom died, I went to the funeral and came to camp the next day.

“[Pouncey] almost lost a leg (due to injury). Al [Villanueva] has seen people die (as a former Army Ranger) and come and given his all to this team. Dave [DeCastro] the same thing. Everybody has their issues."

Reports surfaced last week that Bell had told teammates he would report on Monday, but appeared to shoot that down in a tweet that seemed to call the report "fake news.”

“At least have the courtesy, at least say something,” Foster added. “I guess it is a little bit different, a little bit tiresome now. I’m tired of the antics.”

Bell has not yet signed his franchise tag, which would pay him $14.5 million per season, making him the game’s highest paid running back. He stands to lose over $850,000 every week until he signs. In the meantime, James Conner will likely get the bulk of the carries. 

“Now, when it’s game time, and you know that you have $14 million looming out there and you’re still not here, and your team really wants you here, at this point, we’ve got Conner,” Pouncey added.

Bell’s agent, Adisa Bakari, told SiriusXM NFL Radio Monday, “He’s going to do the things necessary to protect his value long-term.”

This may imply that Bell may extend his holdout deeper into the season, potentially up to the Week Ten mark where he must sign the tender in order to get any of his money.

“You know what, if you don’t want to be here, it is what it is,” Pouncey said. “Hold out ten weeks. It’s totally fine with us. As a team, we’re totally fine. It takes eleven guys, not just one.”

Hear all of what Pouncey and Foster had to say below.