Le'Veon Bell says next year is 'irrelevant' after franchise tag comments

Oct 15 2017 Kansas City MO USA Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell runs the ball as Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson defends during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium

Pittsburgh Steelers star Le'Veon Bell has reportedly told ESPN that he'll consider sitting out the 2018 season, or even retiring, if the Steelers place the franchise tag on him again.

Bell also indicated that if he does decide to sit out next season, it would all but seal his choice to walk away from the game after just five seasons in the league.

Bell has a relatively lengthy history of contract disputes with the Steelers, the only team he's ever played for.

The Steelers - who face the Jaguars in the Divisional Round Sunday afternoon - would have to tag Bell between February 20 and March 6, leaving them until July 16 to work out a multi-year deal. This puts the front office in a potentially hard position, as the franchise tag could be used as a base point for working toward a new contract.

At age 25 and fresh off a first-team All-Pro season, Le'Veon Bell is putting his own football future in question. The running back logged 321 carries for 1,291 yards and caught 85 passes for 655 yards, to go along with 11 total TDs in 15 games this past season.

Bell said he would "probably be done" with football if he did sit out 2018. While the Steelers could prevent Bell from playing for another team by using the tag, they can't force him to play under it either.

Bell said: "Just get the numbers straight, exactly where we want them". Teams can tag a player between February 20 and March 6, after which they would have until July 16 to work out a long-term deal. I know what I do and what I bring to the table. "I'm not going to settle for anything", Bell told Fowler. "I'm not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at". However, last night, Bell said on Twitter that he's focused on winning the Super Bowl and nothing else right now. If he gets tagged and doesn't get to test free agency, then things might get sticky.

"I don't necessarily care about the money aspect of it", explains Bell. "Right now, I'm just kind of doing it because I love it".

Gurley, the Rams' Pro Bowl running back who is due to become a free agent after the 2018 season, definitely took note of Bell's comments.

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