The NFL season hasn’t even kicked off yet, and I’m already tired of all the Le’Veon Bell drama.
Will he show up for Week 1 or won’t he? Will Mike Tomlin and the players get tired of answering the same questions concerning Bell, not so cleverly asked in a variety of ways, week after week?
In a larger sense, are the Steelers and Bell simply in a no-win situation this season, which promises to be an even bigger distraction than last season’s circus?
You better believe it.
At least last season there was still hope Bell and the team might meet somewhere in the middle on a long-term contract deal during the offseason. Now we all know that, at the end of the season, he’s gone.
One thing’s for certain, Bell’s contract drama has separated Steelers Nation in a manner similar to how the modern political landscape has divided our nation — definitely not in a good way.
A large portion of Steelers Nation is beyond fed up with Bell’s antics and wants the Steelers to rescind his franchise tag or work out some sign-and-trade scenario. These options aren’t realistic, though, and they’re out of the realm of possibility. Like it or not, Bell and the Steelers are bound together at the hip this season. If he plays at all, it will almost assuredly be for the Steelers.
Another portion of Steelers Nation just wants to see the situation work out for the best for all parties involved. They don’t begrudge Bell’s pursuit of a fat contract, any more than they accept the Steelers financially motivated decision not to budge on their contract offer they felt was mutually responsible.
That leaves a small group of fans in a place where Mr. Le’Veon Bell can do no wrong. Salary cap be damned and screw the long-term success of the team — Bell deserves whatever his little heart desires and the mean ol’ Rooney family are a greedy bunch of rich jerks for refusing to give it to him. After all, he’s only trying to take care of his family.
This might sound funny, but that rationale reminds me of my parents. Growing up, my friends and I would play football in the front yard. It was about the size of half a football field. It was a great place to play football, but my dad was always concerned we were going to break the picture window in the front of the house. He warned me one time that if we broke that picture window, I could pack my bags and leave for good.
Was he serious? I don’t think so, but I sure didn’t want to find out.
Fast forward a couple of decades and suddenly my parents have become grandparents, and they’re singing a whole different tune. My son was the apple of my parent’s eye and could do no wrong. He could have stood in front of their house and threw the football straight through that window on purpose, and guess what my father would have said. “Did you see the arm on that boy?” That’s pretty much how some of Bell’s biggest supporters view his many questionable decisions.
Maybe instead of allowing all this drama to separate us fans, we can actually have a little fun with it this season and even maybe let it have some kind of unifying effect. There are a lot of hilarious moments sprinkled through all this drama, if we will only take the time to look for them. Some of this stuff writes itself. Like Bell patronizing strip clubs with his significant other. Some great material came from that little adventure, but it’s been well covered.
There are countless other moments that may have slipped under the rug. Like how Bell has been working on his street cred to gain acceptance in the rap community. He has been seen hanging out with many accomplished rappers like 50 Cent and Snopp Dogg. Bell has insisted that he doesn’t need to be shot to gain entrance into the esteemed fraternity, because he already bears the scars left behind from the Steelers insulting contract offers and the ultimate betrayal perpetrated on him by so many Steelers fans.
There have also been reports of Bell working this offseason on his punting and place-kicking skills. This has been a concerted effort to assure Bell would never have to come off of the field for any offensive possession and therefore would increase his overall value to any potential suitor. Any franchise willing to run a wildcat package as their predominant offense may prove to be an attractive destination for Mr. Bell next season. Who needs a quarterback anyway? Just snap Bell the ball and get out of the way.
Now before any of Bell’s biggest supporters get their bloomers in a bunch, I’m writing all of this tongue-in-cheek. This is an attempt to make light of a situation that has the potential to derail a promising season. Hopefully Bell will sign his contract, have a wonderful season, lead the Steelers to another Super Bowl title and, in the end, everyone gets what they deserve.
Wouldn’t that be a happy ending? Now, have you heard the one about Bell, a nun, and Todd Haley walking into a bar?