It’s almost staggering to me that basically all of the stupid things that I thought Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell might have been thinking over the course of the past year they have been gradually confirming over the course of the past couple of months. Like, it all has really been as stupid as it seemed.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back recently sat down with Sports Illustrated for an interview, the full version of which will come out today, but the clip that was posted yesterday was already pretty telling as he recounted what he could of his thought process heading into the season.
“Really, I was thinking I was just not gonna come [for] Week One. That was my original goal, the original plan in my head”, he said. “But it just happened, like certain things leading up to Week One, certain things where it was like, ‘why why did that happen, why did you say that?’, because it’s like, you know what I’m trying to do”.
It’s abundantly clear what he’s talking about here. He’s referring to the comments made by players such as Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster, and Bud Dupree publicly on the day that he was expected to report for Week One.
Up until that very moment, all of his teammates had publicly been very supportive of him. Pouncey even went to bat for him a day or two prior to that, essentially saying that he knows what type of person Bell is and that he’ll show.
Bell reacted on social media as though he were caught off-guard by the frustrated and disappointed and angry reactions of the teammates with whom he had cut off communication, keeping them in the dark about his plans and making them answer to the media for him, only to make them look stupid for sticking up for him and having his back.
“It just kind of started a buildup, so it was just not making me feel comfortable. Like, over the course of time, that’s where it was getting at”, he went on in the interview. “I can’t even remember little details or little things that were happening, but just little things leading up to Week One, or when they were in camp and I was training”.
“Then it got to a point where it was like, regardless of what they say, I’m gonna just come back after the bye week, I’m gonna bite the bullet, I’m gonna come back after the bye week”, Bell said. “I got to that point, and then new information came out that felt like it was real important to me. I heard that I didn’t even have to play to get them not to use another franchise tag on me. So that’s when I got to the point where it’s like, if I don’t got to come back, then I’m not gonna come back”.
Much earlier in the previous offseason, Bell actually said that his plan was to do the same thing he did last year, which was report for Week One. Now he says he was planning to skip the first game and return after that. Can he really be surprised if his teammates reacted negatively when they were told—or rather heard—one thing, a tidbit that they probably clung to because they had nothing else to go on, only for him to turn around and do another?
The running back is basically saying that the negative reactions of his teammates contributed to his staying away from the team, though it was entirely his fault by directly keeping them uninformed in spite of attempts by some to reach out to him. Literally the entire situation would have been different if he had simply let anybody know what he was doing.
It really was as stupid as it seemed six months ago. And for some reason that amazes me.