Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell vowed Saturday to sit out the 2017 season rather than play under the franchise tag, but the threat is being dismissed as an April Fool’s Day joke.
ppl can say literally whatever they wanna say...but idc, I will LITERALLY sit out the WHOLE YEAR before I decide to play on the tag!
— Le'Veon Bell (@L_Bell26) April 1, 2017
Quality prank by Le’Veon Bell on sitting out 2017 if on tag. Double checked and it’s indeed an April Fools.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 1, 2017
While Bell’s tweet was enough to make Steelers fans at least temporarily nervous, he has a history of playfulness on the first day of April. Last year to the day, he told the Twitterverse he was leaving the Steelers.
it's been a great run with Steeler Nation, I will always have love 4 all my former teammates, coaches, & for all my fans! but gotta move on!
— Le'Veon Bell (@L_Bell26) April 1, 2016
NFL players are rarely fond of having the franchise tag placed on them, and even though Bell is set to make about $12 million under the designation next season, some NFL observers are interpreting his tweet as a passive-aggressive negotiating tactic as he seeks a long-term contract.