Recently, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell made a comment about being a “villain” with the team’s fan base on his social media account. There is a clear disconnect about what the fan base considers a good, and fair, deal, and what Bell is attempting to do by resetting the running back market with his next contract.
Steelers legend Mel Blount and fan favorite Brett Keisel recently spoke with the media, and Keisel painted the picture of what it is like playing football for the black-and-gold in the city of Pittsburgh.
“It’s not like the other 31 NFL teams,” Keisel told Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “There might be a few that are close. But it’s not like them.
“We’re all a family.”
This, as Keisel describes, is exactly what the fan base loves, and expects, to hear. The family which is the Pittsburgh Steelers. In this scenario, would one family member hold out on another to get more? In most cases, no, and this is where the rift begins building.
But while many fans might just stop reading there, Keisel’s next quote shows the player’s side of these type of negotiations.
“He [Le’Veon Bell] is maybe the greatest player at that position. And that’s what he wants,” said Keisel. “The business side of things can get ugly. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to go for what you can, when you can.”
Just read that last sentence again.
You have to get what you can, while you can.
The average Joe working a 9-5 job and living as a part of middle America will never understand turning down a $13.3 million dollar deal, and this is the main reason many fans have shown angst towards Bell in recent months. But is it really fair to compare your life to an NFL player’s? Absolutely not. Just like Bell can’t compare his life to that of a medical doctor. Nonetheless, Keisel is right. Players have to be able to get as much money as they can, before their brief careers come to a screeching halt.
As Keisel spoke for the fans, and the players, he brings it all together with talking about how the two sides can truly be one. Something which was a constant during the team’s run to two Super Bowl titles on three trips in the 2000s.
“One thing that I loved about playing here was that you’ve all got to work together to keep the team together. Luckily I was with a bunch of guys who did that, and we had the success that we did.”
The core which Keisel was a part of included James Harrison, Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Aaron Smith, Santonio Holmes and many more. You can imagine the current group of Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward and hopefully Le’Veon Bell could also continue to stay together to win more football games.
Keisel knows the fan base well, as well as truly understanding the dynamics for a player, and what he says is 100-percent truth on both sides. Whether his comments/advice fall on deaf ears has yet to be seen.