"I hope it doesn't come to that", Bell told ESPN in Pittsburgh.
The 25-year-old played on a $12.1 million franchise tag in 2017, and that number is projected to increase to around $14.5 million in 2018.
The Steelers star is now getting ready for his team's first playoff game of the season, a divisional round game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in hope that this will lead to the team winning their first Super Bowl since the 2008 season. It's a contest in which Bell, who was rested in Week 17, will once again head Pittsburgh's ground game, and that's his (and the team's) current focus.
Bell has a relatively lengthy history of contract disputes with the Steelers, the only team he's ever played for. "I'm in a position where I can do that, and I'm going to do it". And his 1,541 total touches are the most for any player through their first five seasons since Adrian Peterson.
"I feel great, especially not playing these last two weeks, not going to camp earlier in the year", Bell said Wednesday.
"I don't think we got enough attempts", Bell said after the 21-point loss, adding, "I feel we're a good enough team to wear guys out whether they know we're running the ball or not". "Right now, I'm just kind of doing it because I love it. I'm not going to settle for anything", Bell said.
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He told Fowler that he is happy with his football career so far and is not concerned about making as much money as possible, but instead with setting a precedent for other running backs to be paid in relation to their value and usage.
Fowler tweeted out that he took full responsibility for asking the question of Bell and then pointed out that he spoke extensively of this season and winning a Super Bowl. The All-Pro back reiterated that he just wants to be properly valued.
Compare that to a year ago, when he needed a painkiller shot before the AFC title game just to play, a patchwork solution that failed spectacularly.
The proof can be heard on the practice field, where Foster says Bell keeps yelling "Tempo!"
"It's about leaving a legacy".
The Steelers are embarking on their fourth straight trip to the postseason, and Pittsburgh has reached the playoffs in all but three of Mike Tomlin's 11 years as head coach.