Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger texted Le’Veon Bell on Tuesday but never received reply

It appears Le’Veon Bell just wanted a clean break from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As players reported to the team facility Wednesday to prepare for Sunday's game against the Jaguars, questions about Bell’s decision to forego the entire 2018 season by refusing to sign his franchise tag by Tuesday's deadline under remained.

“You know what the thing about it is, he’s not here,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “He’s not going to be here, so we don’t talk about it. I texted him yesterday before the deadline saying I hope he’s going to show up and if he decided not to, then I wish him the best. He was a great teammate here, a great football player. To each his own on what they want to walk away from.”

When asked if Bell ever texted him back, Roethlisberger answered: “Nope.”

That goes along with what head coach Mike Tomlin said in his Tuesday press conference, when he revealed that he has not had any communication with Bell at any point this season.

“Under the circumstances, no,” Tomlin said when asked if he thought it unusual to have a player ignore all his attempts to open communication with him.

“I understand that business is an element of the game of football, and there are elements of the game — relationships within the game, football-related relationships that we all hold near and dear and understand that football, at this level, there’s also that business element. Even when we don’t understand it, we’re sensitive to it, so we’re not shocked when things happen from a business standpoint.”


Bell was franchised in March and missed all of the offseason workout program, training camp, and the first 10 weeks of the regular season. By failing to report by 4 p.m. ET Tuesday and sign the tag, he's now ineligible to play the rest of the year.

Unless the Steelers franchise Bell a third time in 2019, which is unlikely, or put the transition tag on him (more likely), he'll become a free agent in March.

 “It would be tough,” Roethlisberger said when asked if he’d ever consider sitting out a year. “Part of the great thing of this sport is the band of brothers and the group of guys in here and being with them. It’s kind of what keeps me coming back after so many years, too.

"Like I said, to each his own. Each guy has his own motives and motivations. I can’t comment on him. I’m glad that we don’t have to talk about this anymore, though.”


Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes

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