Art Rooney II says Ryan Shazier will have role with Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell enters a second straight offseason seeking a multiyear contract with the team. Art Rooney II said Pittsburgh wants to re-sign Bell for years at a time too though he did not commit to franchise tagging Bell

Rooney said the Steelers have the "next several weeks" to reach a deal with Bell but stayed neutral on whether the team would apply the tag, which is worth around $14.5 million.

Speaking to a small group of reporters, Rooney also said he expects quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to play at least two more seasons. "But bottom line is we're excited that's the way he feels and we'll continue to work with him and hopefully get a couple more rings with him". Rooney said Wednesday he'd like "to figure out how" to extend Roethlisberger's contract.

To avoid using the franchise tag for a second consecutive year, the Steelers would have to sign Bell to a long-term deal by March 6.

It's been a highly successful tenure, but 2017 was a hard year for Rooney and his family.

Bell said at the Pro Bowl that the two sides are closer to a long-term contract than in July when the National Football League deadline passed without a signed contract.

Bell played under the franchise tag in 2017, earning a one-year salary of $12.1 million.

"Look, I think the Jesse James play was actually called the right way", he said.

Bell had indicated that he wants to get a contract worked out before February 20, which is the first day that the Steelers can apply the franchise tag on him.

Rooney sounds ready to keep the Steelers' core together despite a 45-42 loss to Jacksonville in the AFC divisional playoff round.

"We'll go through the process and do our best". The running back market, though, does affect negotiations, Rooney said. "And frankly, when you look around this last hiring season and see some of the difficulties people had hiring a head coach, I'm happy we have Mike, that's for sure". "OK, well, who are you hiring next?"

Rooney, however, downplayed the idea the Steelers were looking ahead to a rematch with New England and defended coach Mike Tomlin's approach.

"So, you know, I think it's something that the lesson to be learned here is that you take it one one week at a time, one game at a time, and no matter who the team is, you can't focus on one team".

"We've typically been able to stop the run, so we've had occasions where maybe we weren't as consistent in that area as I think we'd like to be".

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