Adisa Bakari, the agent for Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, gave quite an interesting interview Wednesday morning on SiriusXM NFL Radio concerning the status of his client. While Bakari inferred Wednesday morning that the Steelers aren’t likely to see Bell report anytime in the near future, he also wanted to make it clear that while the running back would like nothing more to win a Super Bowl this year with the team that drafted him, he had to make a business decision as well when it comes to his future past 2018.
“I wanted to clarify, look, Le’Veon would want nothing more than to win a Super Bowl in Pittsburgh, to stay a Pittsburgh Steeler,” Bakari said. “That was his dream. Again, this was his family’s team, this is the team his household rooted for as a child growing up. Everybody was in black and yellow on Sundays in the Bell household and then to be drafted by that very team, I mean, you couldn’t have written a better script, right? So, to his fault, the whole Bell family bleeds black and yellow, but the business of professional sports is just that, a very real and sometimes harsh business.”
Bakari went on to further defend Bell’s decision to remain away from the Steelers to start the regular season because of him needing to do what’s best for him past 2018.
“They’re not allowed to make business decisions, decisions that affect their individual livelihoods, that affect their families,” Bakari said. “And so, the Steelers concern, the ownership, which I’ve already lauded many of times, great owners, Kevin Colbert, I think highly about him, Mike Tomlin, again, think highly about him, great organization, their concern in 2018 is the same concern they had in 2017 and is the same concern they had in 1979 and that’s what?”
When the show co-host answered, “Win the Super Bowl,” Bakari continued.
“That’s it. That’s it,” Bakari said. “Le’Veon is concerned about the rest of his NFL career, Le’Veon is concerned about his family, his livelihood and now these two competing concerns, these two competing concerns should serve as the impetus in contract negotiations to find a middle ground. Sometimes they don’t.”
Sometimes they don’t, indeed, and now we see exactly what can happen when they don’t.
While there’s currently no time frame for when Bell will ultimately report and sign his franchise tag, it certainly won’t be surprising if he now waits until Week 10 so that he makes sure he gets an accredited season and can hit the free agent market in March of 2019.