Disgruntled Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell failed to report to the team to sign his franchise tag on Tuesday, general manager Kevin Colbert confirmed.
Bell had until the 16:00 ET deadline to sign in order to be eligible for the remainder of the NFL season, but he did not show.
By not signing the $14.5million tender, his second in two years, Bell will not now accrue an NFL season and is expected to end his tenure with the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2013 draft. He will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Steelers boss Colbert said: "I want to confirm that Le'Veon Bell did not sign his franchise tender today and, as a result, he will not be eligible to play football during the 2018 season."
Statement from GM Kevin Colbert on RB Le’Veon Bell:— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 13, 2018
"I want to confirm that Le’Veon Bell did not sign his Franchise Tender today and, as a result, he will not be eligible to play football during the 2018 season."
The Steelers were said to be optimistic Bell would rejoin the team after he left Miami last week and was spotted working out in Pittsburgh a few days later, although there reportedly were no discussions between the two sides.
And Bell's holdout and lack of communication appear to have worn thin with players and officials in the organisation.
While addressing the media earlier on Tuesday, Mike Tomlin spoke about how unusual it is for a player to ignore the efforts of his coach to reach out but acknowledged: "I understand that business is an element of this."
Despite a drama-filled start to the season, the Steelers have since thrived and second-year rusher James Conner is enjoying a breakout season in Bell's absence. Entering Week 11, Conner ranks third in the league in rushing yards (771) and rushing touchdowns (10).
The Steelers (6-2-1) will look to extend their winning streak to six games when they visit the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6) in a rematch of last season's AFC divisional round game on Sunday.
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