Bell optimistic over a long-term deal with Steelers
Le'Veon Bell has revealed he is "a lot closer than last year" to working out a long-term extension with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Running back Bell turned down a deal as he held out prior to the start of the 2017 season, waiting until the final hour before eventually signing the franchise tag.
He managed 1,900 total yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns during the resulting campaign but has still been handed the tag - worth $14.5million - for a second successive year.
However, the Steelers have until July 16 to agree to terms on a new contract, with Bell upbeat the two sides can come to an agreement, allowing him to join his team-mates at training camp.
"I don't want to have the replications of what happened last year," the 26-year-old told NFL Network.
"But if that came down to that, obviously I got to do what I got to do. Take my stand and protect myself. I don't want to have to do that. I want to go camping and play for the Steelers long term.
"Obviously, the people in the organisation try to do what's best for them and I'm trying to do what's best for me. We're working on it. We're a lot closer than we were last year at this time. That's what I'm happy about.
"None of that matters if we don't get it done. Hopefully, we'll try to get something done. That's what I'm looking forward to. I want to do it."
Bell, who earned $12.12m through being tagged for 2017, has rushed for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns in his NFL career since Pittsburgh selected him in the second round of the 2013 draft.