Part II: Le’Veon Bell
Le’Veon Bell was the first of the Killer B’s to fall. His situation was a long time coming. For years, the Steelers had refused to pay Le’Veon the money that he desired. While Bell wanted more guarantees and to be paid as an elite skill position player, the Steelers did not want to guarantee as much of his contract as he wanted. Due to this, Bell played one year under the Franchise Tag. After the Steelers tried to Franchise him for another year, Bell decided to hold out for the 2019 season. Everybody knows what happened next. Conner emerged as a workhorse back, Bell signed with the Jets, and the Steelers moved on. But Bell’s reasons for sitting out weren’t just issues with the front office.
In an interview with Jenny Vrantas of Sports illustrated, Bell said that Big Ben was indeed part of the reason why he wanted to leave the Steelers. Much like antonio Brown, he mentioned that: ““The organization wants to win. Tomlin wants to win. Ben wants to win — but Ben wants to win his way, and that’s tough to play with,” Bell told Vrentas. “Ben won a Super Bowl, but he won when he was younger. Now he’s at this stage where he tries to control everything, and [the team] let him get there. …” This coincides with what Hines Ward said regarding how Roethlisberger needed to improve his leadership. This type of toxic environment can lead to teams drifting apart and ultimately breaking apart. That’s not to say Bell is blameless. Bell refused to give a solid answer with regards to his holdout until the very end. He was clearly a distraction for two years as he held out for two training camps and was not straightforward with his teammates regarding his intentions. But it’s clear that the organization views and treats Roethlisberger as the king of Pittsburgh. This approach is toxic to an environment that already lacks leadership due to Tomlin’s inability to handle personalities. Reothlisberger claimed that Le’Veon was a “distraction” that hurt the team significantly in 2019, but perhaps the bigger issue was that the 14.5 Million that was allocated for Bell was never spent to improve the team.
From Bell and Roethlisberger we can learn something that is quite evident: The Pittsburgh locker room is a mess. There are leadership issues and nobody seems to want to fix it. Tomlin is unable to and the rest of Pittsburgh believes in Big Ben. Bell didn’t believe in Big Ben, and there was one more person who didn’t believe in Big Ben. The last member of the Killer B’s: Antonio Brown.
Part III Comes out Soon…