Mike Tomlin on Le'Veon Bell: 'We need volunteers, not hostages'

Steelers running back James Conner celebrates his touchdown run with wide receiver Antonio Brown

Modal Trigger Steelers running back James Conner celebrates his touchdown run with wide receiver Antonio Brown. Getty Images

Those decisions are Le'Veon's.

"So we're focused on the guys that are here and working - and James is definitely in that mix".

Bell tweeted on Monday that he was leaving Miami - where he has spent his time this holdout. "We need volunteers, not hostages", Tomlin said.

He likely felt the same way after the game as Conner ran for 107 yards on 24 carries and added seven catches for 56 yards and a touchdown during the Steelers' 23-16 win.

Bell does not have to report to the Steelers by a certain date to get an accrued season to become eligible for free agency, contrary to what ESPN and others previously reported. The players clearly don't seem thrilled and if Twitter reaction is any indication, Steelers fans would rather have Conner.

Tomlin addressed the emergence of Conner, who has been a revelation in his second season in the NFL.

Meantime, Bell, who was originally set to earn $14.5 million on the franchise tag this season, has forfeited more than $7 million thus far while holding out.

What impact Bell will have on the Steelers for the rest of the season remains to be seen, as he's been away from the team all year, and there's bound to be bad blood between he and the teammates he's left behind during his South Beach holiday.

However, Jeremy Fowler and Adam Schefter of ESPN are reporting that Bell doesn't, in fact, have to report at all this season in order to become a free agent next March because he has already played four-plus years in the league.

Bell, who forfeits $855,000 for each week he fails to sign the franchise tag, told ESPN on October 1 that he would play football this year and did not expect to be traded. One thing that would benefit Bell is that the Steelers would not be entitled to compensation from another team if they chose not to match any offer sheet he might sign.

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