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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Le’Veon Bell preparing to keep options option with tag looming

Le'Veon Bell

The Pittsburgh Steelers are using their franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell, and the running back isn’t sure where he’ll go next.

Bell remains hopeful that the two sides will work out a long-term deal by Tuesday’s deadline, but is prepared to assess all options in the increasingly likely event that it does not happen.

“We’re not coming to a number we both agree on — they are too low, or I guess they feel I’m too high,” Bell said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. “I’m playing for strictly my value to the team. That’s what I’m asking. I don’t think I should settle for anything less than what I’m valued at.

“I just have to decide if I’m going to play when the time comes.”

Bell argued that his worth should be assessed based on the fact that he puts up more yards per game than any other NFL player, plays nearly every down, is a pass-catching threat, and will age well because he plays “with my mind.” He believes the Steelers are negotiating based instead on the running back market.

Bell will not rule out skipping training camp or even reporting as late as Week 10, which is the latest he could report and still get a salary.

“It’d definitely be hard to pass up,” Bell said of the $14.5 million tag.

Bell has said all along that he’d be willing to take extreme measures if tagged again. He still isn’t backing down from that stance, even as it appears that that’s exactly what will happen.

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