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Steelers News 7/24: Antonio Brown stands behind Le’Veon Bell

Antonio Brown, speaking to media at his youth camp, spoke about Le’Veon Bell and his contract situation.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It is July, which means football is right around the corner. July 27th the Pittsburgh Steelers report to Latrobe, PA for another training camp. Although we still have a few days of the “dog days” of the NFL offseason left, it doesn’t mean there isn’t news to still be discussed.

We take you around the world wide web to give you your daily dose of black and gold, along with making BTSC your one-stop-shop for all things Steelers.

Antonio Brown wants Steelers to extend 'special piece' Le'Veon Bell — Jeremy Fowler — ESPN

PITTSBURGH -- Antonio Brown is under contract with the Pittsburgh Steelersfor the next five years. He'd like Le'Veon Bell to join him.

A few days before training camp, Brown is stressing the importance of Bell, who will play this season on a franchise tag of $12.12 million after Bell and the Steelers couldn't reach an extension by the July 17 deadline. The two playmakers spoke on the phone for about two hours Saturday night, Brown said from his Live Your Vision Foundation Football ProCamp at Bethel Park High School outside of Pittsburgh.

"We need him. I need him," Brown said. "If we're going to do what we desire to do, we need every guy a part of the organization in a helmet to be there committed to the cause. He's a special piece. Obviously, we know what he brings to the team, his dimension playing football, but he's a special individual. I pray that we have him there."

What the duo talked about was "top secret," Brown said.

Brown signed a four-year, $68 million extension in February, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's deal has three years left. Bell is the third playmaker in the Steelers' Triple Bs attack, but he told ESPN this week that the Steelers didn't value his services the way he valued himself.

Bell hasn't signed his franchise tender and thus can't be fined for missing camp days. Bell has not committed to reporting to training camp on time but plans to play a full season.

Once the season begins, Brown will be flanked by Bell at running back and Martavis Bryant at receiver. Bryant has 15 NFL touchdowns in 21 games but has missed 20 games the past two seasons due to drug-related suspensions. The NFL conditionally reinstated him in April.

Brown said that "hopefully" Martavis Bryant is the missing piece but stressed that the team needs "every guy" in order to win big. "I just encourage him, support him, push him to be the best," Brown said.

Brown can strengthen his legacy with a fifth consecutive 100-catch season, which has never been done in the NFL. Brown hasn't given any thought to the feat.

"If you coming into the season worried about records, what accolades I can get, I'll stress myself out worrying about those things," Brown said. "I just stay singularly focused on being my best self every day."

NFLPA message: “Save now. Fight later” — Mike Florio — ProFootballTalk

At a time when NFL players seem to be realizing that better pay will come only through labor strife, the NFL Players Association has a message for its membership: “Save now. Fight later.

The union recently posted a video on Twitter with that message. The message to save money is a sensible one even without a potential work stoppage in four years.

But the fundamental problem continues to be this — many of the players who may be expected to go without pay in 2021 have none to save now because they’re currently playing in college or high school. So they will have saved little or nothing, or otherwise may have nothing, if/when a strike happens. Still, plenty of guys presently in the NFL will still be in the NFL in four years, and if as many of them as possible have enough money to go a year without playing, the players have a chance of winning.

It’s nevertheless a small chance, in part because the league would likely hire replacement players and continue to stage games, like the league did in 1987. And as the games go on and players who want to play are tempted to return and get paid to play football, it can all fall apart. Like 1987.

Then there’s the “fight later” aspect of the message. Frankly, players can fight now. (Or, more accurately, in about nine months.) None of them are required to show up for the voluntary portion of the annual offseason program, which is essentially a license to legally strike from every April through June. If they can’t muster the will to collectively boycott the offseason program at some point over the next three offseasons, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be able to launch and maintain a work stoppage after the next four football seasons.

Ezekiel Elliott’s accuser speaks out, a year after alleged abuse — Mike Florio — ProFootballTalk

A year after Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott allegedly engaged in domestic violence five times in a six-day period, his accuser has spoken out.

“Exactly 1 year ago today my life changed forever,” the woman accusing Elliott of domestic violence posted on social media, via TMZ. “I finally got the strength to be the strong woman I was and got myself out of a very toxic relationship. Ladies never think you’re too in love or too scared to leave because at one point that was me. There’s plenty of opportunities out there for you. Love yourself first. Speak up and stop domestic violence.”

The statement underscores the reality that, if the NFL doesn’t take action against Elliott, the alleged victim may decide to tell her full and complete story, either by doing an interview or filing a lawsuit. Which would put the league in the awkward spot of having to decide whether to leak or publish details that would refute her claims — or whether to weather the inevitable P.R. storm.

Richard Sherman downplays Seahawks strife, says Russell Wilson is 'phenomenal' teammate

Richard Sherman described his relationship with Russell Wilson as "professional" during a SportsCenter interview that aired Sunday and again downplayed the idea that the Seattle Seahawks have a fractured locker room going into the 2017 season.

"We're pros. We hang out from time to time. We get along. Everybody gets along," Sherman told ESPN's Josina Anderson. "But is my relationship with Russell the same as it is with Doug [Baldwin]? Or the same as it is with Bobby [Wagner]? No. But is his relationship with me the same as it is with Noe [Tyler Lockett] or [Justin] Britt? It's just different dynamics. But as teammates, we're phenomenal."

Sherman's comments come two months after an ESPN The Magazine story detailed the cornerback's inability to let go of the Seahawks' loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.

The story detailed a play during a 2014 practice in which Sherman intercepted Wilson, threw the ball back at him and yelled, "You f---ing suck!"

Sherman said the anecdote was "100 percent true" but argued that it simply illustrated the Seahawks' competitive practice environment.

Last month, Sherman addressed his relationship with Wilson and said the quarterback earned even more respect from his teammates by playing through injuries in 2016. Wilson said Sherman was one of the best teammates he could ask for.

The Seahawks' chemistry will be in the spotlight starting Sunday when the team opens training camp.