While Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is expected to bypass training camp and preseason once again this year, his agent said Tuesday afternoon during an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he doesn’t expect his client to miss any regular season games like Adam Schefter of ESPN speculated he might on Monday.
“Barring something exceptional, that’s correct,” Bell’s longtime agent Adisa Bakari said Tuesday afternoon when asked if his client’s plan moving forward would be to skip the remainder off the offseason and show up in time for the Steelers Week 1 game against the Cleveland Browns.
Bakari had earlier during the interview also tried to explain the reasoning behind why Bell decided to once again bypass the teams OTA and minicamp practices and how his client failing to come to terms on a contract extension with the Steelers by Monday’s deadline doesn’t change how the running back will approach the 2018 season.
“Le’Veon has has every expectation of making, and he said this yesterday, of making 2018 the best seasons of his career,” Bakari said. “The same expectation was in 2017 and 2016. This doesn’t change that. The decision not to report in the spring for OTAs and minicamp, the decision not to attend training camp, it’s not a strategy, it’s not a ploy to pressure anyone. It’s quite frankly, a way to preserve the body.
“Quite frankly, if you really think about it, most coaches, most GMs, would do well to let their running backs rest during the spring and summer. Every rep on the practice field is a rep against your career. Every time Le’Veon sticks his foot in the ground full speed, that’s pressure on his joint in his knee. So, having not participated in the spring and summer for two consecutive years, it’s quite frankly, that’s about a full seasons worth of football and he adds a year to his overall career.”
Bakari also had nmore to say about Bell missing training camp agasin this year and how he expects the running back to ready to go by the start of the regulr season just the same as he was last year.
“So whoever Pittsburgh, at the start of the year most likely, and whatever team thereafter, benefits from the fact that he doesn’t have the same wear and tear that other running backs who go through full seasons and then go through those mini seasons, Bakari said. “Because we know some programs out here run as if there’s a Super Bowl in June and they’re out there running full speed in May, which makes no scientific sense at all, but they choose to do that. Le’Veon has conditioned very intelligently the entire time he’s been in the league and I think last year he proved that not being in the spring and summer not at all impactful on his ability to be ready and to contribute at the level he’s grown accustomed.”