Jan 12, 2018 at 12:33p ET
Colin Cowherd talks Le'Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers going into this weekend's game with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
– Le'Veon Bell is a very good running back. Le'Veon Bell came out, here we are two days from a playoff game, 25 years old, $12 million this year, highest paid running back in the league. They're going to franchise him next year, he'll be the highest paid guy in the league next year as well. Failed two drug tests, been suspended, hurt regularly.
Now he's not happy, two days before a playoff game, with his money. Two days before a playoff game, here's Le'Veon Bell, I'm not going to settle for anything. I know what I do, and I know what I bring to the table. Here's his quote, “I'm not going to go out there, get the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at. I've made a lot of money, I'm happy where I'm at, I've got a good family. I don't really need to play football.”
Yes, Le'Veon Bell is threatening to retire, two days before a huge playoff game, for Mike Tomlin, for Big Ben, for Le'Veon Bell, and for the Steelers. You don't want to lose to Jacksonville at home. First of all, there is a time to talk about everything. I think players have a right to confront bosses when it comes to money. But not two days before a playoff game.
This has been my problem, for the last several years, with two teams in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks, who this year fell apart and now just had to fire everybody, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have the most explosive offensive stars in the league, now they have another JuJu Smith-Schuster, and in most eyes have underachieved.
A source told me this morning that Matt Patricia's going to become the New York Giants next coach. Is it because they know he's the best assistant coordinator out there? No. They're going to hire him because the New York Giants have Odell Beckham, and Eli Apple, and Landon Collins, and they talk a lot.
And the Giants, my source tells me, want to hire a disciplinarian, so players talk less, coach does the talking. Can I ask a question? Find me a loose football culture. Dallas Cowboys, I'd call them loose. New York Giants, last three years, I'd call them loose. Seattle, Miami, Oakland, Cincinnati, that wins long-term.
Oh, Seattle did it for a couple. That window is closed. No salary cap space, players revolting, banging on their quarterback in “ESPN” articles. But if I said to you, give me a rigid, tough system-first football program in America. New England, Alabama, Giants under Coughlin, Vikings under Mike Zimmer, Jim Harbaugh and the Niners. They win a lot of games.
Show me where loose, player empowerment, outspoken, say what you want when you want, wins long-term in football. It underachieves all the time, it's man overboard all the time, it's dysfunctional all the time, it gets coaches fired all the time. Sometimes star-driven teams can get hot. Seattle did. Notice how quickly the window closes.
See the problem is with social media, the media loves player empowerment. Tell them what you think, you deserve more money, let me write a column, this is outrageous. It never lasts. It always underachieves eventually.
So here's Le'Veon Bell, this has been my primary concern with Mike Tomlin's culture, Facebook Live, I deserve more money, this guy calling out that guy. I know the media loves that, and you can pander to it, and you can apologize.
But the two best football cultures in the world right now, “Bama and New England, are not about player empowerment. They're about the system, the coach, and being respectful and focused before playoff games.
Here go the Steelers again, two days out from a team that destroyed them, Jacksonville. Destroyed them, dismantled them, humiliated them. You're not talking about the offense, you're talking about your salary? Steelers Pete Carroll, Seahawks, these two franchises, one just fell apart this year.
If Pittsburgh loses, I mean, Jacksonville crushed them 14 of the last 16 times. The team beat an NFL team by over 20 points in the regular season. And then played them again in the playoffs, 14 out of 16 times, Jacksonville, that team that won big, wins in the playoffs. If Pittsburgh loses, like the Seahawks, I think a fair criticism is, the team has underachieved again.
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