Mike Tomlin made it clear he’s not focusing on Le’Veon Bell’s holdout.
The Steelers coach spoke to ESPN’s Dianna Russini on “Sunday NFL Countdown” before the team’s rivalry game against the Ravens, saying the team “needs volunteers, not hostages.”
“We need volunteers— not hostages” Mike Tomlin refreshingly honest on Bell and game ready to beat the Ravens #Steelers pic.twitter.com/zDzFe8nsU5
“We haven’t spent a lot of time focused on it because it’s not within our control. Those decisions are Le’Veon’s. We need volunteers not hostages,” Tomlin said.
Bell has until Nov. 13 to report to the Steelers facility if he wants to play this season. Reports in October indicated he planned on reporting during Pittsburgh’s Week 7 bye so he could prepare to play in Week 8.
However, he remained in Miami to continue his holdout in response to the team signing him to the franchise tag for the second year in a row.
Ravens DC Wink Martindale calls out Le’Veon Bell over Steelers absence
In the meantime, second-year running back James Conner has filled Bell’s shoes well, rushing for 743 yards and nine total touchdowns so far this season.
“Taking nothing against James, the running of the football is an 11-man job,” Tomlin said. “We’ve got a great belief in our offensive line. They’re doing a great job opening holes for him. But to James’ credit, he’s running, catching, blocking, doing all the things we ask our future runner to do.”
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