“The Steelers are going on the assumption Bell will be at practice Monday, a source said,” according to the Post Gazette’s Gerry Dulac.
Bell has sat out training camp and the preseason after being placed on a $14.5 million franchise tag when long-term contract talks fell through. He has not signed that franchise tag, and it has been long assumed that he would in time for the regular season, like he did last year.
Bell calls report he’ll practice Monday ‘fake news’
Dulac’s report points to just that. But Bell was not having it and called out the familiar refrain of “fake news” on Twitter shortly after the Post-Gazette report was published.
don’t believe the fake news, I never said anything to no one…
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) August 28, 2018
Of course, “fake news” is the calling card of people who don’t like real news being reported about them, so this all must be taken with a grain of salt.
When Bell and the Steelers failed to reach an agreement ahead of the July deadline, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said that he thought it was “possible” that Bell would be willing to sit out half the season.
Bell’s response to Tuesday’s Post-Gazette report appears to be an attempt to feed into the storyline that that scenario – or one that at least continues to see an extended holdout – is on the table.
Bell intimated in July he intends to play full season
But Bell’s own tweet after contract negotiations fell through indicates that he has no intention of sitting out regular season games.
to all my Steeler fans, my desire always has been to retire a Steeler…both sides worked extremely hard today to make that happen, but the NFL is a hard business at times…to the fans that had hope, I’m sorry we let youu down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date…
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) July 16, 2018
Bell has put together a run of some of the best seasons the NFL has seen from a running back. Having “my best season to date” is an unlikely scenario if he misses a significant chunk of games.
Bell not the first Steeler to challenge local media
This is not the first time this preseason that a Steelers star has had conflict with the Post-Gazette. Antonio Brown tweeted that Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette was “making s— up” when he tweeted that he saw Brown limping at practice. Brown also called Bouchette a clown.
Bouchette tweeted after the report that he saw Brown limping that he confirmed with coach Mike Tomlin that Brown had not suffered an injury aggravation.
Like Dulac, Bouchette is an established journalist writing for a reputable news organization.
“Fake news” has proven to be an effective tool in attempt to discredit real news. Whether Bell is choosing to wield that cudgel upset that he lost control of his personal narrative or actually does not plan to report for the regular season, we’ll find out next week.
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