Sportress of Blogitude

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert fires back at Le’Veon Bell’s agent

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has fired back at Adisa Bakari, the agent of Le’Veon Bell, for comments made Wednesday concerning the running back’s continued absence from the team.

“We are not going to discuss any conversations through the media,” Colbert said, via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “If Adisa (Bakari) would like to talk further, he has the phone number to our offices.”

Colbert presumably is taking issue with Bakari publicly airing grievances and the like, which he evidently prefers to take place behind closed doors and not in the media.

Bakari was remarkably tight-lipped during appearance Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio concerning Bell’s ongoing absence from the team and the plans to report going forward. The agent also singled out Colbert by name in his comments, as well as head coach Mike Tomlin.

Bakari later hinted during an appearance on ESPN’s “NFL Live” that Bell’s decision to remain away from the team is in the interest of preserving his long-term health.

Bell could remain away from the Steelers for the season’s first 10 games and still receive credit for an accrued NFL season, making him a free agent at season’s end. That said, Bell will surrender over $800,000 for every game missed, 1/17th of his $14.5 million tender that still has not been signed.

It goes without saying the rhetoric is ramping up with each passing day. Bell’s own teammates harshly criticized him due to missing Wednesday’s critical day of preparation with the team, something that surprised the disgruntled running back.

At this late stage, Bell presumably is expected to miss Sunday’s season-opening game against the Browns — although that won’t be made official until Saturday afternoon — and there’s no sign his return is coming anytime soon.