Fans are Fickle
By Tom Barton
As LeVeon Bell sits out yet another week the Steelers fans grow more and more angry. It's always an interesting situation to see where the fans heads are at when it comes to off the field monetary issues. In this case we have a multi million dollar athlete with a short window to earn his huge money against an even wealthier organization who doesn't want to give up that money. Many times the fans will choose the player over management, but in Bell's case the fans are choosing to side with the franchise.
Bell held out last season until 9 days before opening day and then, with little camp under him, exploded for his normal outstanding season. This year fans expected the same but as the rumblings of Bell missing time got louder the fans turned their backs. Maybe it's because Bell pulled this stunt before. Maybe it's because James Conner, his backup, is such a likeable guy and very good player in his own right. Or maybe it's because Pittsburgh fans know this is what's best for the team. Teammates have called Bell out, which is unheard of for someone holding out for more money, and the local talk shows are calling him selfish. Whatever the reason fans want Bell back and now.
The problem is two fold now. First if/when Bell comes back I doubt he'll do so with a new contract. Ties are so severed in the Steel City I am not sure it can be fixed. Bell is a guy who has a ton of yardage under his belt but also alot of carries. Traditionally RB's hit a wall with this many carries, just think of how far DeMarco Murray fell and how fast. The second issue is when Bell comes back will he have the same desire, the same running style, the same love for the game knowing he is in a lame duck situation?
I ultimately think Bell is playing for another team next season. A team with plenty of salary cap room, a team that needs a star, a team that lacks offensive weapons and can make Bell the focal point, and a team that is close to New Yorkers hearts ... the Jets. It seems like a perfect fit but Jets fans don't get giddy just yet because Bell has said in the past he has no desire to come to New York. That of course was when he wasn't sitting on his couch and wishing he had that multi year, multi million dollar contract. This should be an interesting off season, but if I'm a Jets fan I'd be watching Steelers games with Bell in there just crossing my fingers he gets out healthy.