If the latest rumors surrounding Le’Veon Bell are to be believed, he will not be returning to the Pittsburgh Steelers this season and will be playing elsewhere in 2019. While little has been heard from Bell since he told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN that “sitting out the entire season was never an option” back in October, he has continued to use social media to tell his side of the story.
With his upside tweets and cryptic posts, Bell’s message has not always been clear as of late, but that was not always the case. Before he joined the professional ranks, and even for some years after that, Bell had a rather different attitude about life in the NFL. There was a time when No.26 was all about football and had no interest in money and fame. A purist who cared about nothing but his legacy and the sanctity of the game. Someone who valued integrity and honesty above all else. These are not hyperboles on my part, rather words from Bell’s own mouth.
When Bell was still in college, he had a completely different opinion about money and hated dishonesty in all of its forms.
I'm not in it for fame or money...I just wanna be legendary— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) November 14, 2011
Did I ever mention how muchh I hate liars?— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) June 10, 2012
If youu play this game for money and/or fame then your playin for the wrong reason...I love this game first, then everything else! #Football— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) July 31, 2012
No matter what I do, I always do it outta love! Football is NOT a job to me...I just love to do it! Its just that simple! #Blessed— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) May 10, 2012
Money comin, money goin, ain't like youu can take it witchu...— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) October 19, 2012
I only chase dreams, never would I chase women or money...— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) November 29, 2012
That attitude didn't change right away either, even when Bell started to gain some early success in the league.
If youu could sit out a year of a sport youu play and your not injured or somethin else is preventing youu to play, then youu don't love it!— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) February 13, 2013
Nobody want this as bad as I do, everybody just wanna be seen, ppl just want fame...I actually LOVE this game #Football— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) April 8, 2014
I can care less about the fame or the money, I just wanna be remembered as the best! Forget everything else...ppl disrespectful to this game— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) April 8, 2014
The thought of bringing your PHONE to a workout is CRAZY to me! like why did you bring your PHONE? oh to be seen huh? yall can have the fame— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) April 8, 2014
and when youu LOVE something, youu will always honor & respect it...& I love football, regardless of what ppl say— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) September 30, 2014
one lie has the power to tarnish a thousand truths...crazy huh?— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) June 8, 2015
money and fame means nothing to me............I just wanna be legendary! #Juice pic.twitter.com/VgBGEWvQfN— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) October 22, 2015
Staying in Pittsburgh was always his priority.
I'm not goin anywhere unless they get rid of me ✊ https://t.co/pisuaDzHSa— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) August 21, 2017
Pittsburgh: the city that took in a 21-year old kid from small-town Ohio, the city I battled thru adversity in, the city that I became a man in. I love everything about being a Pittsburgh Steeler, and I want nothing more than to finish the rest of my career in Pitt! #26Forever pic.twitter.com/mhs2ikpK71— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) March 6, 2018
to all my Steeler fans, my desire always has been to retire a Steeler...both sides worked extremely hard today to make that happen, but the NFL is a hard business at times...to the fans that had hope, I’m sorry we let youu down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date...— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) July 16, 2018
The fans were his friends.
best fans in the land...took over the stadium in San Diego Monday Night...I love youu #SteelerNation #Juice pic.twitter.com/jxoGvk72x2— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) October 16, 2015
Pittsburgh fans the best fans! ✊ Y’all shown so much love to meee pic.twitter.com/aseO6gzyZ9— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) February 28, 2018
And he loved his coach.
"juice is in the building" love coach T to death, wouldn't wanna play for no other coach or play in any other city.. pic.twitter.com/VU3eO7qXFY— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) February 17, 2016
But ultimately that all changed
it’s so hard to be a hero in a city that paints youu out to be the villain.. pic.twitter.com/TBFAHTQJcm— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) March 29, 2018
And Bell’s most notable highlights from 2018 were not on the football field.
While the Steelers have stated their desire to have him rejoin them before the deadline, it appears that is not going to happen. Bell purged his social media profile of references to Pittsburgh over the weekend and he has made no contact with the team. A change of heart is always possible, but it is more likely we will see an official “fairwell” tweet come Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.