Ben Roethlisberger texed Le’Veon Bell prior to deadline to return to Pittsburgh Steelers


PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger left the window open for Le’Veon Bell, just in case.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback said he texted Bell before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. reporting deadline but didn’t hear back. By not showing up, Bell forfeited the 2018 season — and $14.5 million in earnings on the franchise tag — in efforts to preserve his body for unrestricted free agency.

“I said I hoped he showed up. If he decided not to, I wished him nothing but the best,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday morning from his locker as the Steelers prepare for the Jacksonville Jaguars. “He was a great teammate and football player.”

Roethlisberger isn’t judging Bell for his decision to leave behind salary and a potential Super Bowl run.

“To each their own on what they want to walk away from,” Roethlisberger said.

That’s where the insight on Bell stopped, as Roethlisberger made it clear that he wanted to move on.

Bell and Roethlisberger shared a backfield for five seasons, with Bell averaging 128.9 yards from scrimmage per game since 2013. Bell, Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown comprised the “Killer Bs,” one of the NFL’s most formidable trios.

Bell’s nameplate is still on his locker, but he won’t be coming back.

“The thing about it, is he’s not here, he’s not going to be here, so we don’t have to talk about it,” Roethlisberger said.

Roethlisberger said his sole focus is Jacksonville, which is arguably the biggest challenge of the year for the Steelers’ offense. The Jaguars intercepted Roethlisberger five times in a Week 5 win last season.

Roethlisberger enjoys the preparation process, which is why sitting out a season would “be tough,” he acknowledged.

“Part of the great thing about this sport is the band of brothers and the group of guys and being with them,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s what keeps me coming back.”

Source : ESPN