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Le’Veon Bell: I guess I just gotta get better

The Steelers' failure to sign Le'Veon Bell to a long-term deal could have consequences both in the short and long term.

The Steelers and running back Le’Veon Bell did not come to agreement on a multi-year deal before Monday’s deadline for franchise-tagged players to do so, leaving Bell to play out this year under the terms of his franchise tender.

Unlike their peers in Washington, the Steelers did not mark the deadline by relaying their account of the negotiations that led up to the deadline. The Steelers released a brief statement from General Manager Kevin Colbert that said, in part, that the team plans to “resume our efforts to address his contract situation” after the 2017 season comes to an end.

Bell released a short statement of his own on Twitter on Monday evening.

With the deadline passed, the next question is whether Bell will be working on his own to get better or if he’ll sign his $12.1 million tender in order to join the team at camp.

Bell’s production over the last four years has put him among the very best backs in the game right now, but his availability could be better in 2017 after missing 14 games and parts of others, including last season’s AFC title game, to injuries and suspensions. If he can be on the field and at the top of his game every week this year, Bell will be in line for a big payday one way or another next year.