The Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’Veon Bell have a unique relationship. They love each other on the field but, off of it, things can be a bit dicey.
Bell is revolutionizing the running back position with his ability to run, catch and block, but also with his running style. The patience Bell exudes on a weekly basis isn't something familiar to many football fans around the globe. Nonetheless, others are now attempting to emulate his unique ways of going about his business.
With this success, and Bell certainly realizes it, comes an expectation of being compensated for what he feels he's worth as a player. Everyone remembers last season how Bell stated he feels he should be paid as a top running back and a No. 2 wide receiver.
But that was last year, and while the progress (or lack thereof) of Bell’s contract negotiations with the Steelers are unknown to those outside of the organization, it's worth noting Bell might finally be catching on as to how to handle himself during these tough times.
Maybe, just maybe, he's finally getting, and listening to, some good advice.
No, not in the actual negotiations, but the ways he handles himself and is viewed by the media and fan base.
When Bell put out a picture of himself earlier this offseason and claimed he was a “villain,” it ruffled feathers. The same could be said when he rapped about being a target and not understanding why the bulls eye is on his back.
Well, he took to his verified Instagram page recently and posted a picture of himself running the football, but with a very simple caption:
“silence is key...”
I love a good Le’Veon Bell story as much as anyone, but this might be my favorite one to write. It may have taken him two years, and plenty of headlines, to realize sometimes saying nothing is your best option. Rather than taking what you feel and putting it out for the world to see, just realize your image could take a brutal hit in doing so.
To be honest, I can’t remember a player who was so beloved on the football field, yet hated off of it.
Last season, when fans were angry about Bell missing Organized Team Activities (OTAs), mandatory minicamp, training camp and the entire preseason, they certainly weren’t that upset when he racked up 1,291 yards rushing, 655 yards receiving and tallied 11 total touchdowns.
Then another franchise tag comes and the fan base turns their back on him faster than you can say ‘holdout.’
It's a unique situation. Bell wants what he feels he deserves and the Steelers want to keep him, but not while bankrupting the organization. The fan base wants Bell to be more of a “team player” throughout these negotiations.
Either way you cut it, it seems as though Bell might have finally learned the valuable lesson that sometimes less is more in terms of how you handle the negotiations and how you're viewed by the fan base.