Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell really had Twitter buzzing earlier on this first day of April with what surely has to be an Aprils Fools’ joke.
Bell, as you can see in the attached tweet below, threatened to sit out the entire 2017 season if forced to play under the franchise tag.
ppl can say literally whatever they wanna say…but idc, I will LITERALLY sit out the WHOLE YEAR before I decide to play on the tag!
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) April 1, 2017
Bell, who is currently scheduled to earn $12.4 million in 2017 after receiving the franchise tag from the Steelers ahead of the start of the league year last month, now has until July 15 to sign a contract extension as per the rules in the CBA. Should the two sides not get a new deal done prior to that deadline, Bell will have to wait until the 2017 season is over to sign a new contract with the Steelers.
The Steelers have stated for some time now that they hope to get Bell signed to an extension prior to the July 15 deadline. Even so, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert recently indicated that such a deal isn’t likely to be consummated until sometime after the 2017 NFL Draft takes place.
While the Steelers should ultimately be able to get Bell to agree to a new contract, I wouldn’t expect such a transaction to take place until closer to the July 15 deadline.
In case you forgot, Bell had fun with his Twitter followers a year ago when he tweeted that it was time for him to “move on” on April 1st and that of course wound up being an April Fools’ prank.
The running back is currently rehabbing from surgery to repair the groin injury that he suffered during the Steelers playoff run this past season and there is no timetable for when he’ll be ready to resume practicing. Additionally, Colbert said recently that the team’s former second-round draft pick won’t be rushed back as they want him to be 100 percent come the start of the 2017 season.