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Steelers News: A knock down, drag out fight between the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell might be looming

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Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Jacksonville at Pittsburgh Steelers Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold is over — think again. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at how another fight might just be on the horizon for the Steelers and All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell. This story is just getting started...

Let’s get to the news:

Inside the next potential fight between Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers

By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN

The NFL’s most compelling contract saga is in a slumber. Le’Veon Bell is in a dimly lit recording studio somewhere in Miami. The Pittsburgh Steelers are debating whether to trade the most productive wide receiver of the past decade. The wounds from Bell’s yearlong holdout over the franchise tag are no longer raw, allowing both sides to weigh their business options.

This brings us to a collectively bargained tool that could intensify the Bell-Steelers divorce to Hollywood levels: the transition tag.

Here’s where things stand. In mid-January, Steelers team president Art Rooney II said, “We don’t have to close any doors” on Bell’s future. On Sunday, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that the team is still considering the transition tag for Bell.

This would add a fascinating layer for the reasons it makes sense, for the reasons it doesn’t and for the contention it would inevitably create.

Placing a cheaper value on Bell after two years of franchise tags that bred little positivity would only widen the gulf between player and team. But nothing is simple with Bell’s contract fight, so perhaps this is a fitting conclusion to a wild 24 months.

Talks with several NFL sources paint the transition tag as the Steelers’ risk-reward plight that could involve the NFLPA, the NFL management council and an independent arbitrator.

Let’s begin with the basics and then crack open the deeper issues involved.

What is the transition tag?

The transition tag is a one-year designation that typically pays less salary than the franchise tag and gives the team the chance to match any offer from another team.

If the Steelers had put the transition tag on Bell two years ago, for example, Bell would have received the average salary among the top 10 players at his position, instead of the top five salaries for franchised players.

A new team can offer a transitioned player a long-term contract after the start of the league year, and the original team -- in this case, the Steelers -- has five days to match or let the player walk.

When must the Steelers apply the transition tag?

The designating window for franchise or transition players begins Feb. 19. The deadline is 4 p.m. ET March 5.

How much is this year’s transition tag worth for Bell?

Bell has played under one tag, worth $12.1 million in 2017. A previously tagged player of one season is due 120 percent of his previous salary on a new tag, according to the collective bargaining agreement. That would put Bell at $14.5 million.

But the Steelers can argue that Bell’s transition tag is closer to $9.5 million. The logic seems to be that since Bell sat out, the original transition formula resets.

(To read more, click the link in the headline...)

Ed Bouchette: It’s time for Steelers to cut ties with Antonio Brown

By: Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If Antonio Brown wanted to leave the Steelers, his latest “domestic dispute” should seal that deal.

It no longer should be how much the Steelers can get for him in a trade, but how soon they can dump this man, whose danger to opponents on a football field is surpassed only by the danger he poses to fellow humans off it.

According to a report filed by police in Hollywood, Fla., Brown pushed a woman down in front of his home on Jan. 17. She said her wrist hurt and she showed police some scratches with scabbing. While she did report the incident and the police took photos, she later declined to complete a victim affidavit and no arrest was made nor have charges been filed.

An NFL spokesman told the Post-Gazette on Wednesday that the league will investigate the incident, and the Steelers said they are looking into it.

Brown’s lawyer issued a statement to ESPN on Tuesday that read: “The allegations are baseless and false. It’s unfortunate that the media is trying to use distractions like this and prior stories in an effort to tarnish my client’s name and reputation.”

Brown does not need the media’s help to do that. When Brown did his little Facebook Live routine in the locker room in Kansas City two years ago, that was a “distraction.” He has since upped the ante to more aggressive acts, all in 2018, such as:

— Alleged in a lawsuit to have thrown furniture off his condo’s 14th-floor balcony that nearly hit a toddler. This came after Brown himself called police to say he was robbed of $80,000 in cash and a gun that was in a satchel in his closet. Never mind why that was laying around in the first place.

— Driving over 100 miles per hour on McKnight Road, which is not exactly Interstate 79. Brown and innocents near him are lucky he escaped with only a ticket. It was just Tuesday night that police say speeding on the West End Bridge caused a five-car pileup and one death.

— Threatening to break the jaw of an ESPN writer.

And these are just the ones we know about. They do not include all his peccadilloes on the field, on the sideline and in locker rooms (or absence from them) that ruffle the feathers of his coaches and teammates.

Brown showed up somewhere at the Super Bowl to do a few short interviews. He would have been better off had he stayed home (although maybe not if you are in the shoes of the woman who called the cops on him).

(To read more, click the link in the headline...)

Chiefs tell Patrick Mahomes to quit playing hoops after video emerges

By: Kansas City Star

Like many Chiefs fans, general manager Brett Veach saw the viral video of quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ pickup basketball moves and was concerned.

The fear of an injury to the NFL’s MVP led Veach to place a call to Mahomes’ agent, Leigh Steinberg.

“As soon as I saw it, it probably took me about 2 seconds to call his agent and tell him that was a big no-no,” Veach told Soren Petro of 810 AM on Thursday.

“The Kingdom can rest assure that we have that under control: no more basketball for Pat.”

Mahomes is competitive in all he does, Veach said, so that makes it hard for Mahomes to kick back and just shoot hoops.

“He doesn’t have that filter in his mind to kind of just have fun and not take everything so competitively,” Veach said.

That’s why the Chiefs hope Mahomes’ basketball days are over.

“We were able to nip that in the bud, and we feel good with the plan of no basketball with Pat moving forward,” Veach told Petro.

But San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, a vice president of the NFL Players’ Association executive committee, wondered if Veach had the right to deny Mahomes the right to play basketball. Sherman tweeted: “Haha yea that’s gonna work. If they don’t want him hooping then put it in the contract. It’s not there so he can do as he pleases. Most players do”

Mahomes’ contract does not explicitly prohibit him from playing basketball. Part 3 of an NFL’s player contract addresses “other activities.”

Here is what it says: “Without prior written consent of the Club, Player will not play football or engage in activities related to football otherwise than for Club or engage in any activity other than football, which may involve a significant risk of personal injury. Player represents that he has special, exceptional and unique knowledge, skill, ability, and experience as a football player, the loss of which cannot be estimated with any certainty and cannot be fairly or adequately compensated by damages. Player therefore agrees that Club will have the right, in addition to any other right which Club may possess, to enjoin Player by appropriate proceedings from playing football or engaging in football-related activities other than for Club or from engaging in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury.”

Veach, speaking later Thursday on a conference call with reporters, said his conversation with Mahomes was lighthearted.

“You’re breaking a lot of ankles out there,” Veach said, “just make sure you’re not breaking your own.”