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Le’Veon Bell’s agent hints at concerns about workload

Le'Veon Bell was called out by his teammates after his agent said Bell was going to skip Week 1 to protect his long-term value.

Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell didn’t show up for work today, and it appears he’s worried about being overworked when he does show up.

His agent Adisa Bakari alluded to his heavy workload during an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio today, though he didn’t say specifically that was why Bell hasn’t shown up yet.

“I’m not going to discuss our plan publicly,” Bakari said, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But if you’re Kevin Colbert and you’re Mike Tomlin, and you have a once-in-a-generation type of player for one more season, what would your plan be? . . .

“You can read in between those lines.”

Bell has averaged more than 300 touches per year in five seasons, and that includes 2015 when he missed 10 games. Last year, he had a career-high 321 carries and was targeted with 106 passes.

Bell hasn’t signed his $14.5 million franchise tender yet, thus isn’t subject to fines. He just doesn’t collect those $853,000 weekly checks until he shows up. He can skip 10 weeks, report, and still earn an accrued season toward free agency.

That would get him to the market without a full year of wear and tear, which seems to be a concern.

“Le’Veon has every intention of making this season the best season of his career,” Bakari said. “That has not changed. That his intention — to make this the best statistical season of his career.”

That would be hard to do in six games, unless Bakari’s willing to count per-game numbers only.