Two weeks after hinting at retirement or another holdout, running back Le?Veon Bell championed progress made in contract talks with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Bell, who played the 2017 season on a one-year franchise tender worth $12.1 million, turned down a long-term offer from the Steelers and reported to the team only days before the regular season began. Bell said the offer was ?insulting.? Playing next season on the franchise tag would bring a salary of about $14.7 million.
At Pro Bowl practice on Thursday, Bell said he?s optimistic contract talks are trending in the right direction.
?We are a lot closer than we were last year,? Bell told ESPN. ?I?m happy and the Steelers are happy right now where we?re at. Obviously we have to continue to get it done.?
No one has ever averaged the 129 yards from scrimmage per game Bell did over his first five years in the NFL.
But Bell said the holdout was a strain, and kept him away from the daily interaction and on-field opportunities of training camp. Bell said he wants to avoid a repeat of last summer.
?I want to make sure everything is good,? Bell said. ?I?m not trying to play the same episode again. We need something new. ... Make everybody happy so everybody can come into the season withoutdistractions.?