Yes, I couldn’t help myself but to write another article on Le’Veon Bell’s interview. Hopefully from this point forward he keeps to himself and doesn’t give us anything to talk about, but if he continues to make absurd comments, I’m probably going to keep addressing them.
Earlier today, I already talked about the former Pittsburgh Steelers running back’s earlier comments in which he displayed an inability to understand the difference between an unproven rookie and an established All-Pro performer is going to be treated at those substantially different points in his career.
He continued to talk about playing for the Steelers and admitted that “it’s not a bad place to be. It’s just not my place. It’s just I wasn’t happy. It’s just not my place. It’s not a bad place. It just wasn’t for me”. In part, because he didn’t feel like he was welcomed back into the locker room.
“There’s a lot of things that happened on the field, with guys involved in the locker room. Obviously people know the public stuff, guys calling me out, things like that”, he said. “I felt like for me to get to my full potential and be the player that I can be and I know that I can be, I’ve got to go play with different players. I’ve got to go play with people who want to see me succeed. Who want me to be a great player”.
That’s a pretty damning and unprovable comment, but it also strikes an absurd tone, considering that he played behind an offensive line that included three Pro Bowlers and who helped him average the most yards per game in NFL history.
“I feel like getting a fresh start, that would be the best thing for me”, Bell continued. “If I’m playing in a locker room where guys already feel a certain way about me, they already know what I am, they know what type of talent I have and what I can bring to a football team, not even just on the field but in the locker room”
“I’m a great teammate”.
A great teammate, Bell called himself. The same teammate that for not one but two offseasons cut off contact with his teammates when he didn’t have a deal to sign and so chose not to report for any workouts. There’s a big difference between doing what you feel like you have to do in terms of business and cutting off your teammates.
Yet in spite of all this, he admitted that he was “so close” to actually signing the long-term deal with the Steelers, and said that he would have signed the same contract that he was offered last season if it had similar guarantees to the one he signed with the New York Jets. Explain that.
There was even a moment in the interview in which he talked about his rookie season in training camp in which he mentioned that there was a play that he liked, and Head Coach Mike Tomlin, surely tongue in cheek, said something to the effect of ‘shut up and run the ball, rookie’.
Apparently this off-hand remark so affected him that he felt uncomfortable talking about plays he liked later on in his career, and implied that, even though the team in his later years did start asking him for feedback, “but never to a point where it’s like, ‘hey, what play do you like?’.
Tell that to Mason Rudolph, who credited Tomlin for keeping him engaged last season while he was on the bench by making sure to hear out his opinions and be open to the suggestions that he would make. So many of the claims that Bell and Antonio Brown have made about how the Steelers ‘treat’ their players can be contradicted by on-record counterexamples, so it’s very difficult to take their accounts at face value.
And yes, now I’m done talking about Bell, as long as he’s done talking this way about the Steelers.