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Le'Veon Bell on Earl Thomas' injury: I'll be the 'bad guy'

When Earl Thomas went down with a broken leg in Sunday's win over the Arizona Cardinals, it underscored the reason the safety held out trying to get a new contract.

Thomas caved on his holdout, and now will miss the rest of the season before likely heading into free agency.

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner provided some context for the pressure Thomas had been under.

"If he doesn't come then he's not a team player," Wagner said of Thomas. "If he does come and gets hurt, then it's 'he shouldn't have came'... if I was him, I'd be pissed off."

ESPN posted the quote and a picture of Thomas being carted off the field while giving a one-finger salute to the Seahawks sideline.

The man who hasn't given up his quest for a new contract chimed in on the Instagram post.

"Smh, exactly..." Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell wrote. "Get right bro bro [Earl Thomas]! I'll continue to be the "bad guy" for ALL of us."

Thomas' injury highlighted the reason Bell has not reported to work and already left more than $3.4 million on the table by not signing his $14.54 million franchise tender -- Bell would make $855,000 per game if he signs the franchise tag.

Bell's comment is a shot at some Steelers fans, and some players, who have called out the running back for being "selfish" with his decision to prioritize future earnings over the team's season. Thomas' injury could make Bell more resolute in his decision.

The thought process from Bell's camp is to minimize the wear-and-tear on the dual-threat running back before he heads into free agency after the season.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the Steelers are now actively shopping Bell, though a deal would be tricky. Any team trading for the running back would need him first to sign the tender (Bell is not currently under contract; no team can trade a player not under contract).

Since Bell cannot negotiate a long-term deal until the end of the season, he'd still be taking on the injury risk if he agreed to a trade.

Given his comment on the Thomas situation, it doesn't sound like that would be amenable to Bell.

While the Steelers desperately need Bell back, it does not feel like that will happen anytime soon. The running back staying away until Week 10 seems like it's still the play.

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