Football footnotes: What is Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell talking about now?
In this week’s Friday Football Footnotes, we try to figure out what Le’Veon Bell is talking about again. Leonard Fournette may be even tougher to deal with next year and Gronk is going to be on Shark Week.
Now what does he mean?
The deadline for the Steelers to sign Le’Veon Bell to a long-term deal is Monday. If that doesn’t happen, the running back is going to have to play on the franchise tag for his final year in Pittsburgh.
A few weeks ago, Bell sent out a social media post saying he was “optimistic” and made it seem as if there had been progress between his agent and the Steelers in negotiations during the NFL Network Top 10 reveal.
Then on Wednesday he posted this.
It’s impossible to read Bell’s mind. His, more than other minds, I mean.
But the reference to his patient running style could be a hint he can wait out the Steelers in negotiations and may even be a threat that he can hold out beyond the start of the regular season.
The “I don’t forget a thing” part? I have no clue. Maybe he’s trying to say he’ll hold a grudge and burn the Steelers in a different uniform in 2019.
One thing he has apparently forgotten is all that progress that had allegedly been made.
Less is more for Fournette
The Steelers have to play Jacksonville again in the regular season this year.
That means they have to face Leonard Fournette again. He had 290 yards rushing in two games against them last year. Now, Fournette thinks he is going to be in even better shape in 2018.
The Jaguars running back is 11 pounds lighter than he was in 2017. The goal is to increase Fournette’s yards-per-carry average.
I’d suggest Fournette busting off big runs is less a question about the running back’s physique and breakaway speed and more about what is allowing him to hit big holes. Frankly, as it is with most running backs.
That was definitely the case in Pittsburgh twice. In the regular season, he cracked off a 90-yard run. In the postseason game, he averaged 4.4 yards per carry. During the regular season, he was at 3.9.
Those longer runs Fournette and the Jaguars may be shooting for are likely just as much a product of the offensive line doing a better job of giving him yardage before contact — in games other than against the Steelers, it appears.
Or, it could be a case of the passing game improving to the degree that opposing defenses can’t load up eight in the box to stop him.
If Fournette wants to play lighter because he feels fast and more comfortable, great. I can’t see him losing much power just because he’s down to 224 pounds from 235. After all, Le’veon Bell is 225. Todd Gurley is at 227.
I just happen to think the big bursts he nets will come from the factors around Fournette more so than what he does for himself.
The Bengals are so cheap…
How cheap are they?
They are so cheap, their reputation for penny-pinching in football circles surpasses that of the Pirates in MLB.
Want some examples?
Check out this story on former Bengal receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh on Fox Sports with Colin Cowherd.
“Houshmandzadeh told Cowherd the team had a water fountain but didn’t provide bottled water or Gatorade in the locker room,” Cincinnati.com reported. “He said players were encouraged to stay at home instead of a team hotel for home games, leaving the team unable to enforce a curfew the night before a game. And he said the year before the Bengals drafted Houshmandzadeh in 2001, Willie Anderson told him they provided used jockstraps.”
Take a look at the whole segment.
Storytime with T.J. Houshmandzadeh about the early years with the Bengals: No bottled water or Gatorade, jockstrap issues and showing up to home games straight from the club pic.twitter.com/nvSX7STorM
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) July 9, 2018
Gronk Swims with Sharks
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is swimming with sharks.
No, there is no Bill Belichick joke coming. He really went swimming with sharks.
MassLive.com reports Gronkowski will appeared in a July 23 special called “Monster Tag.” The show features celebrity guests who tag sharks. It’s part of Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.”
Something tells me that if a shark ate both of Gronkowski’s hands during filming, he’d still get 100 yards receiving with two touchdowns against the Steelers next year.
No HOF love for TO
The Pro Football Hall of Fame sees Terrell Owens pettiness, and raises it.
Owens, chapped that he wasn’t inducted into the Hall of Fame sooner, has said he doesn’t want to be a part of the induction ceremonies on Aug. 4. Instead, he’ll hold his own ceremony at Tennessee-Chattanooga, his alma mater.
In response, the Hall of Fame won’t be mentioning Owens by name during its induction festivities in Canton, even though Owens is going in.
According to NFL.com, Owens will just get his Hall of Fame jacket mailed to him.
At this point I expect it to be sent “postage due.”