Linebacker Bud Dupree snagged some Jordan brand cleats. Another player grabbed a mix tape CD labeled “Le’Veon Bell #1,” according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Bell’s rationale is that by sitting out this season and staying healthy, he will be in line for a bigger payday in the offseason, when he is eligible for unrestricted free agency.
That strategy apparently prompted a sizable rift between Steelers players and coaches and Bell, which meant this week’s decision hardly caused a stir in Pittsburgh. Teammates were outspoken earlier in the season about Bell’s decision not to show up, with some unhappy with both his absence and his lack of communication. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Wednesday that he texted Bell before the reporting deadline and that the tailback didn’t respond.
“I texted him, saying I hoped he was going to show up and if he decided not to, I wished him nothing but the best,” Roethlisberger said via ESPN. “He was a great teammate and football player.”
“To each their own on what they want to walk away from,” Roethlisberger added.
Coach Mike Tomlin told ESPN earlier this month the team needed “volunteers not hostages” while praising replacement running back James Conner.
The second-year pro is averaging 85.7 rushing yards and a touchdown per game. Those numbers put Conner on track to exceed Bell’s output from last season. Now he’ll get the rest of the season to prove himself a worthy starter. And maybe he can add some gear from Bell’s locker.
Read more from The Post: