Since Bell did not report, the two-time All-Pro running back will not be eligible to play the remainder of the season.
Regardless of what happens next offseason, it has drawn a curtain on the Bell drama that has dragged on in Pittsburgh all season long as speculation has swirled for months about when he would rejoin the Steelers. But he showed up in September and proceeded to total 1,946 yards and 11 touchdowns from scrimmage over the course of the season.
Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert confirmed the rumors in a statement shortly after the 4 p.m. ET deadline.
Bell is ineligible to play football this year.
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"That train has left the station", Tomlin said.
It really should come as no shock to anyone that Bell intends to sit out.
Despite a drama-filled start to the season, the Steelers have since thrived and second-year rusher James Conner is enjoying a breakout season in Bell's absence. "We just have to execute better".
The Steelers placed the franchise tag on Bell for the second time this past off-season, but the 26-year-old has made a decision to sit out the year and wait for a long-term contract rather than play under the tag, which would have paid him $14.5 million this season. Instead, Bell made good on a threat he made almost 11 months ago, when he said he would consider sitting out the season if the team kept him from free agency via a second franchise tag.
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The Steelers won't franchise tag him again, because a third tag would cost more than $25 million.
A more likely scenario would be for the Steelers to place the transition tag on Bell.
So if you're stuck with Bell, the only solace you have if he doesn't sign by Tuesday afternoon is: You're part of history, and in the future, you'll probably stay far away from any player who's hinting at a holdout around draft time. If that materializes, Bell would hit the market having just turned 27 in February of 2019.
Only he didn't. And when preparations for Pittsburgh's Week 1 trip to Cleveland began without Bell, several of his teammates - particularly the offensive line - vented their frustrations publicly.
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