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NFL AM: Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell Raps About More Money

Le’Veon Bell wants to get paid; Denard Robinson is a bad driver; Stephen Tulloch is a free agent.

Charlie Bernstein



Bell Raps About Getting Paid

The biggest story or stories in the sports world over the past week has been the NBA’s opening to free agency and how much money average to sometimes below average players are making.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is far from average, as he’s one of the best at his position in the NFL and he wants to be paid like it.

He expressed his message in a rap song. 

“I’m at the top and if not I’m the closest

“Ima need 15 a year and they know this,” Bell’s lyrics stated.

The $15 million per year isn’t an arbitrary figure, as Minnesota Vikings’ future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson is due to receive $14 million.

When healthy Bell is the most complete running back in football.  He has perhaps the league’s best jump-cut, he catches the ball out of the backfield like a receiver and he’s a more than willing blocker.  With that said, $15 million for a running back–any running back– is close to insane in today’s NFL.  It’s not that Bell isn’t an elite player, it’s just that the position isn’t all that important.

The former Michigan State Spartan tore his MCL halfway through last season and although he’s close to irreplaceable, the Steelers made due.  Without Bell in the second half of last season, Pittsburgh went 6-2 and won a playoff game.  The team finished with the No. 3 ranked offense in the NFL and backup running back DeAngelo Williams rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and scored 11 touchdowns.

Bell expressed some more frustration in his song.

“They think I need to refocus/they thing that I’m smoking and I know I’m focused on me

“All you haters, y’all just cannot lemme be

“I know I’m getting right, y’all haters gone see

“I guess I’m only allowed to focus on me knee,” the Pro Bowl running back said.

Although these comments will likely be blown out of proportion, it’s likely due to some fantasy football frustration, being that most fans just care about his stats and production.

Not to be callous Le’Veon, but welcome to professional sports in 2016.  Fantasy football fans care about you as much (likely a little more) than you care about them.

You’re not going to get $15 million per year, especially from the Steelers and any fantasy football or Pittsburgh fan that sends flowers for your recovery is only doing it with on-field production in mind.

Sleeping At The Wheel

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Denard Robinson has had a tough year.  In what was supposed to be an expanded role last season, the former University of Michigan quarterback flopped, proving himself to be unreliable with the football out of the backfield.

The team further cemented that fact when they signed running back Chris Ivory in free agency, to be the “Thunder” in the “Thunder and Lightning” punch alongside T.J. Yeldon.

Robinson’s offseason took a weird turn when he apparently fell asleep behind the wheel of his Chevy Impala which was sinking into a retention pond.

Robinson tweeted about the incident. 

“I just wanted to let everyone know that I was involved in a single-car accident on Saturday night, and thankfully, everyone was safe and remained unharmed.

I thank God every single day for the opportunities that he has presented me with and I’m grateful to wake up every morning healthy.

I should not have been driving that late or when I was that tired, but again, I’m just glad everyone was safe.  God Bless.”

The Jaguars said the team was “aware that running back Denard Robinson was involved in a single-car accident over the weekend and is thankful that nobody was injured.”

A female passenger was also asleep in the car when police officers approached at approximately 4:22 a.m. Both Robinson and the passenger had to be assisted out of the vehicle.

No charges were filed against the Jaguars running back as a police officer determined Robinson wasn’t impaired.

It’s possible that Robinson’s version of the story is true, but it doesn’t seem to smell that way.  If we’re going to speculate, it would seem as if a police officer just might have covered for the Jaguars running back who may have been driving under the influence of something.

What we can confirm is that Robinson is no lock to make the Jaguars roster this summer.  At best he will compete for a third running back spot on the depth chart behind Yeldon and Ivory, and there isn’t any one thing that the 25-year old back does well at an NFL level.  He will be competing with Jonas Gray, Corey Grant and Joe Banyard for most likely one running back spot.

Veteran LB Tulloch Released

One of the most underrated running backs of his era, Stephen Tulloch has been released from the Detroit Lions.

The 31-year old linebacker was paid a $500,000 roster bonus at the start of the league calendar year which will serve as a pretty nice going away bonus.

“As I have said numerous times since I became head coach of the Lions, Stephen Tulloch has been a consummate professional on and off the field,” head coach Jim Caldwell said in a statement. “We thank him for his contributions to the Lions and the Detroit community and wish him the very best in all his future endeavors.”

The timing of the release came after Tulloch passed his physical following some offseason surgery (to avoid a potential injury settlement).

In his five seasons with the Lions, the veteran linebacker exceeded 100 tackles four times, including 107 in 16 games last year.

At this point in his career, he can likely be a two-down linebacker and there should be somewhat of a market for his services, eventually.  It’s not likely that Tulloch begins training camp with a team as they will likely wait until there is a rash of injuries.  If that doesn’t occur, look for him to be signed following Week 1 when his veteran salary will not be guaranteed.

Some teams who could have interest are the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, everyone in the NFC East, the Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams and Oakland Raiders.

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.

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