After the Pittsburgh Steelers Divisional Round Playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars it was reported that running back Le’Veon Bell not only missed most of the team’s Saturday walk-through prior to the game, but that he was also a little late reporting to the locker room just ahead of the contest as well.
“Not only did Bell arrive much later than that for the playoff game against Jacksonville (as well as one coach), he missed practically the entire Saturday walk-through the day before, showing up about five minutes before practice ended,” Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported less than a week ago.
On Wednesday, Bell, who is currently preparing to play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl game, addressed his tardiness ahead of the team’s playoff game against the Jaguars with the media.
Bell, according to Kevin Patra of NFL.com, said on Wednesday that he had personal reasons for being late to the team’s walk-through and that coaching staff was aware of that.
Le'Veon Bell says he had personal reasons for being late to walk through and coaching staff was aware.
— Kevin Patra (@kpatra) January 24, 2018
“I had personal reasons,” Bell said on Wednesday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Obviously, coach T and everyone knew. Whoever made the report was trying to make me look bad to the public or whatever. Obviously, the coaches and everybody knew what was going on in my life at that moment. I showed up when I did and I came to work.”
Tardiness and all, Bell still managed to catch 9 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers 45-42 loss to the Jaguars in addition to rushing for another 67 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
Bell, who played under the franchise tag in 2017, was voted a first-team All-Pro a few weeks ago just shortly after being voted to the Pro Bowl again. Bell is currently scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in a few more months and the Steelers will likely need to place the franchise tag on him again in order to prevent him from hitting the market. This year’s tag amount for Bell will be $14.54 million.