Even though he’s yet to confirm it, the consensus right now still seems to be that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell will finally report to the team on either Friday or Saturday to take his physical and sign his franchise tag. After all, that’s exactly what he did a year ago. However, one of Bell’s former teammates, recently retired outside linebacker James Harrison, said during a Tuesday appearance on ‘Speak for Yourself’ on FOX Sports 1 that he would handle things much differently if he were in Bell’s shoes right now.
“Everyone’s saying, you know, when he comes back in week one, like everybody’s assuming that he’s going to come back week one. I’m with Mark [Schlereth], he has a whole mess of money to lose versus what he’s going to lose per week,” Harrison said. “If I’m in Le’Veon’s situation, I come back with enough time to get my credited season and then I move on. Unless he has a huge insurance policy, like he [Schlereth] said, that guarantees him if he blows out, tears up a knee and he can’t come back – 40, $50 million – it’s no way I go into that knowing what I would lose.”
Should Bell take Harrison’s advice and sit out a while longer, he would forfeit over $850,000 a week in pay until he finally does show up. While Bell, could, in theory, sit out the first 10 regular-season weeks (the Steelers have a Week Seven bye), in doing so he’d give up over $8.5 million just to reduce his injury risk. That route, however, certainly wouldn’t endear him to any of his teammates.
Speaking of Bell and his relationship with his Steelers teammates, Harrison was asked Tuesday what he thinks the running back’s attitude will be like once he does finally report this season with him failing to once again land a lucrative long-term contract extension after receiving the franchise tag.
“Whenever he comes back, he’s going to come back with all toes in, you know,” Harrison said. “But like I said, I see him waiting as long as possible so that it minimizes the opportunities for you to get hurt. At least that’s what I would do, in my opinion, considering the gains and losses of actually, you know, a severe injury.”
Personally, I don’t see Bell taking the suggested route of Harrison. He’ll pocket $14.554 million this season by showing up on time and signing his franchise tag. From there, I’m sure he’ll concentrate on having another fantastic season and winning a Super Bowl with the Steelers and if he does that and stays healthy in the process, he’ll really cash in as an unrestricted free agent come March.