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Official End of an Era? Le’Veon Bell Misses Final Deadline to Sign Franchise Tag

By Brandon Wallace
SteelerNation.com

As of November 13, 2018, 4pm EST, the NFL’s official final deadline for a player to sign the franchise tag has finally come and gone, and as anticipated, the Steelers‘ star running back Le’Veon Bell did not report to the team.

So what does this mean?

Bell is now ineligible to play the remainder of the 2018 season. He loses out on $14.45 million and is set to be a free agent in the offseason. Does this mean his time as a Pittsburgh Steeler has ended? Most likely.

What is the team saying about all this?

Earlier Tuesday morning, Mike Tomlin shared his thoughts before the official deadline occured. Have a listen:

Video courtesy of PennLive.

“I have no reaction,” Tomlin said. “I’ve told you guys and I’ve told you guys consistently, a reaction comes from me if and when he walks in the door. Until that happens, I’m business as usual and focused on those that are here and working, and appropriately so. That way I don’t waste my time and theirs.”

Asked if Bell never shows up, Tomlin responded: “So be it.”

Early signs Bell wasn’t coming back?

Maybe we all thought it was a bluff, but back in January 2018, Bell told ESPN that he’s prepared to sit out a season, or even retire, if franchise tagged for the second consecutive year. More recently, Joe Rutter (TribLIVE.com reporter) noticed an interested change in the all-pro’s Twitter account. Take a look:

The bottom line is that it looks like we’ve seen the last of Le’Veon Bell in a black and gold jersey. Most fans seem disappointed in how this entire saga has played out, but with the emergence of second-year running back James Conner, others are finally ready to put Bell in the past. If you ask me, I’m just glad this dragged out speculated process is finally over.

Conner is currently in the league’s concussion protocol after the team’s dominating win against the Carolina Panthers last Thursday night, but should be ready to roll come Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It seems the “Conner Era” is at last official in Pittsburgh.

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