Ben Roethlisberger says all the right things as Le’Veon Bell saga nears endgame
Le’Veon Bell has until Tuesday afternoon to report to the Pittsburgh Steelers if he hopes to play this season. Ben Roethlisberger insisted on Tuesday that Bell still would be welcomed back — despite a perceptible presence of animosity towards him in the locker room — albeit with one crucial caveat.
“Well, I think if he wants to be a part of this team, that’s the bigger question,” Roethlisberger said during his weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan, as transcribed by Steelers Depot. “Like, if he wants to come here and be a part of this team, then absolutely. I mean, he’s one of the best players in football.
“Why wouldn’t you want an extra weapon, why wouldn’t you want a guy that could come do some special things on the football field and give James [Conner] a break? Things like that, but it’s only if he wants to. We don’t want someone to come out here just because he has to or he feels obligated or whatever it is. So, if he wanted to be out there with us, then, yes, we’ll welcome him back.”
Roethlisberger may be only speaking for himself, as there have been several things said by other Steelers players over the months that indicate it may be too late for Bell to win back the locker room. That said, it’s clear the Steelers veteran quarterback aimed to say the right things as the drama nears its endgame.
The Steelers at least will achieve some resolution of the protracted Bell saga by the end of Tuesday. If the disgruntled running back surprisingly reports ahead of the deadline and signs his $14.5 million franchise tender, the team will then have to determine how to move forward with him in tow, as James Conner has exceeded expectations in Bell’s absence.
If not, it’s time to move on, presumably with some semblance of relief, if not closure, as well.