2018 Offseason Questions: Why Is Free Agent-To-Be Le’Veon Bell Playing In Pro Bowl?

The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.

Question: Why is Le’Veon Bell of all people participating in the Pro Bowl?

In spite of what many try to make it out to be, there is still an honor attached with being named a Pro Bowler. Elected as a starter, Le’Veon Bell would be a Pro Bowler for the 2017 season whether he showed up or not.

So why is he in Orlando?

I’m sure he appreciates the fact that he is the healthiest that he has been to date at the end of a season, in spite of the fact that he carried a very heavy load throughout the year, registering over 400 touches during the regular season and adding more in the postseason.

But how is that honor worth the possibility of an injury for a player who is expecting the reset the market for running backs and turning it on its head? He stated last offseason that that was his goal. The next-highest-paid running back is far below what he made a year ago, but he wants to change things.

He wants to earn a contract that will set up players like Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, and Kareem Hunt after him, to have a precedent from which to negotiate. This is what he has constantly talked about when discussing his contract situation.

So, again, why is he playing in a football game that doesn’t mean anything? This is a guy who skipped the entire offseason because he was given the franchise tag. Well, some of that was recovering from an injury, but in the latter stages, he failed to report because he did not have a long-term contract.

He was preserving himself then. Why is he not preserving himself now? In the middle of contract negotiations? It’s not like injuries don’t happen. Tyler Eifert is still not the same since he broke his ankle in the game.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he’s there, along with his teammates. I do have some level of appreciation for the game, and it’s preferable when players actually take the Pro Bowl as the honor it’s intended to be. It is also a sign that he wants to stay in Pittsburgh. But it seems inconsistent with what he’s done in the past.

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