Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(PITTSBURGH) — One of the National Football League’s biggest stars says he would consider sitting out a full season, or even retiring, if his team tries to use the league’s franchise tag on him for the second straight year.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell made the comments to ESPN, saying that he is optimistic that he won’t be forced to make such a decision. “But I would definitely consider it,” he said, before Thursday’s practice.
Bell played under the franchise tag this season, earning $12.1 million. That number is expected to increase to about $14.5 million next year.
The Steelers can tag a player between February 20 and March 6, with the two sides having until July 16 to agree to a long-term contract.
Bell says he just wants the team to “value me.” That after turning down a long-term deal worth up to $30 million for the first two years last offseason.
“Just get the numbers straight exactly where we want them. I’m not going to settle for anything,” Bell said. “I know what I do and what I bring to the table. I’m not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I’m not getting what I feel I’m valued at.”
Bell caught 85 passes for 655 yards and rushed 321 times for 1,291 yards and scored 11 total touchdowns this season. If he did decide to sit out, Bell acknowledged that his career would likely be over.
“I’m happy where I’m at,” he said. “Football is kind of like my job, it’s not something that makes me unhappy, but I don’t need it to be happy. I’ve made the money that I feel I needed to make, my family would be good. I don’t necessarily care if I get more money or not.”
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