Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell has stated his intention to return to Pittsburgh in about a week -- just in time to prepare for the team's regular season opener against the Browns in Cleveland.
When he does, it seems like there won't be too many hard feelings from the club's best players.
"People catch feelings about certain things. I think anybody in his situation would do the same exact thing. I would," center Maurkice Pounceytold ESPN.com. "We'll see how things turn out. I'm pretty sure he'll come in here and ball out like normal, things that Le'Veon does in the pass game and the running game."
"We will be ready for Bell] whenever he gets here," Roethlisberger said, [also via ESPN.com. "We always want our guys here. But he didn't have to be here. So, we want him here because he's an amazing football player and he helps this team. So, when he gets here, hopefully it won't take him long to get into football shape."
The reason high profile players are agreeing with, or outright siding with Bell is because they know he's right. In the NFL, it's so rare to have a completely leverage-worthy skillset, and Bell is arguably the most dynamic running back in football. While Pittsburgh would still be a good team by platooning rookie James Conner and the rest of the Steelers backfield, Bell elevates them to Super Bowl contention.
Having him hold out really checks two boxes. It allows Bell to vent about his value and set himself up for a basement salary of roughly $14 million next year (the franchise number if Bell gets tagged again) and it keeps him injury-free during the preseason. Bell was tweeting about the hit Odell Beckham took on Monday Night Football earlier this week, likely happy that it wasn't something he was dealing with at the moment.