The Steelers have no plans on moving on from All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell.
Team president Art Rooney II is optimistic the team can sign Bell to a long-term extension going into the 2018 season http://www.redskinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jonathan-allen-jersey
, but didn’t rule out using the franchise tag for a second straight year as a precaution if the two sides can’t come to an agreement before free agency begins next month.
While allowing that contract negotiations can be hard to predict, Rooney stressed Wednesday that ”the good news is both sides want to get something done and hopefully that will lead us to getting it done.”
Bell played under the franchise tag this season after rejecting a new contract last summer. He responded by leading the NFL in touches (406) while finishing with 1,946 total yards and 11 touchdowns to earn his second All-Pro spot in four years as the Steelers finished 13-3 and won their second straight AFC North title before being upset in the divisional round by Jacksonville.
Bell told ESPN in the run-up to the playoff loss he would consider sitting out 2018 or retiring if Pittsburgh used the franchise tag again, but softened his stance prior to the Pro Bowl, saying he believes he’s close to signing a new deal, one that would likely make him the highest-paid back in the league.
While Bell figures to be back next fall, defensive backs coach Carnell Lake will not. Lake stepped down on Wednesday after seven seasons, citing a desire to return to California to watch his youngest son finish up his high school football career.
Pittsburgh’s secondary underwent a massive overhaul during Lake’s tenure, as Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor and Ryan Clark gave way to Mike Mitchell, Artie Burns and Sean Davis.
Rooney praised Lake’s contributions while adding that overall he believes the team still has work to do despite finishing with a franchise-record and NFL-high 56 sacks.
”I think at times we weren’t as solid against the run as we’d like to be and as we’ve been historically as a Steeler defense,” Rooney said.
”We’ve typically been able to stop the run, so we’ve had occasions where maybe we weren’t as consistent in that area as I think we’d like to be.”
Namely against the Jaguars. The Steelers allowed 231 yards rushing in a regular-season loss to Jacksonville and 164 more in a 45-42 playoff stunner.
Rooney, however, downplayed the idea the Steelers were looking ahead to a rematch with New England and defended coach Mike Tomlin’s approach.
”Anybody that wants to look at Mike’s track record since he’s been our coach, I think the record speaks for itself,” Rooney said.
Rooney praised the leadership among the coaching staff and in the locker room in general following a bumpy autumn sprinkled with off-the-field issues from a ”botched” attempt to sidestep the debate around the national anthem in Chicago to linebacker Ryan Shazier’s life-altering spinal injury to the decision to cut longtime linebacker James Harrison, who promptly signed with New England and reached the Super Bowl.
Rooney said there was blame to go around on both sides for the way Harrison’s tenure with Pittsburgh ended Authentic JK Scott Jersey
, adding he would have preferred Harrison’s year end with getting five sacks in a Super Bowl with the Steelers.
Shazier will have a role with Pittsburgh next season whether his playing career continues or not. The 25-year-old spent nearly two months in the hospital after injuring his spine against Cincinnati in December and is undergoing outpatient rehabilitation.
Shazier posted a picture of himself standing with a little help shortly before his discharge and he made several appearances at practices and games after getting hurt.
”I expect Ryan is going to be here one way or the other and have a role with the team one way or the other in 2018 for sure,” Rooney said.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Trent Murphy feels particularly sympathetic toward the Buffalo Bills‘ training staff.
The defensive end can’t imagine how difficult it must have been on them to keep him from rushing onto the field the past six months while Murphy recuperated from a knee injury he sustained a year ago, and a strained groin he developed during training camp.
“We’ve had a lot of guys with reins on me,” Murphy said Thursday.
With a wink, he added: “I think if you ask them, they said they wanted a raise.”
The Bills will gladly pay up if it means the offseason free-agent addition who was signed to improve the team’s pass rush is finally in a position to play in Buffalo’s season opener at Baltimore on Sunday.
It’s not easy holding back Murphy. He is so dedicated to working out, he built a gym in his home, and spent three months last winter rehabbing at the invitation-only Westside Barbell gym in Columbus, Ohio, where Murphy pulled sleds and squatted 475 pounds.
The 27-year-old has been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to restart a career that was derailed abruptly some 13 months ago after he began showing signs of promise in Washington.
A year after posting a career-best nine sacks, Murphy’s future was sidetracked last summer when he tore two ligaments in Washington’s preseason opener.
The injury led to Murphy missing his entire fourth NFL season, and led to the uncertainty of what offers the former second-round draft pick out of Stanford might attract in free agency.
Once Buffalo showed immediate interest, Murphy braved driving through a snowstorm in the middle of the night from Columbus, to arrive at the Bills’ headquarters to sign a three-year, $21 million contract.
After sitting out most of Buffalo’s spring sessions, the 27-year-old developed a minor setback during training camp when a nagging groin injury forced Murphy to miss all four preseason games.
Murphy said he feels fine after completing his third straight practice, and he’s not listed on the Bills’ initial injury reports this week.
“Super excited to get back to football and help the team Tramon Williams Jersey
,” Murphy said.
“You never want to sit on the sideline, especially after waiting as long as I had to wait,” he added. “I always knew, you put in the hard work and you’ll be rewarded for it in the end. I just keep faith in that mantra.”
The Bills are counting on Murphy to improve a pass rush that finished tied for 29th last season with just 27 sacks, and six of them coming in a 9-3 loss at Carolina in Week 2.
Murphy entered training camp projected to fill the starting spot on the left side opposite Jerry Hughes. He’s now expected to play a backup role behind Shaq Lawson , Buffalo’s 2016 first-round draft pick.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is encouraged by Murphy’s return to practice, but intends to take a cautious approach when it comes to playing time and not risk him aggravating the groin injury.
“I know he’s been champing at the bit,” Frazier said. “You can imagine how he feels signing a free-agent contract, looking forward to coming to training camp … and then all of a sudden having some nagging injuries that he’s had. There was disappointment, but he’s healthy and looking good in practice.”
Murphy has plenty to motivate him, including questions of whether he can match the production he enjoyed in 2016. He combined for just six sacks in 31 games during his first two seasons in Washington.
“I’m the type of player who always has a chip on my shoulder,” he said.
“After 2016, people were saying, ‘Oh, that could’ve been a fluke,'” Murphy added. “I couldn’t be more excited to prove to everyone here that I’m who they think I am.”