For the second successive year the Pittsburgh Steelers and Le'Veon Bell failed to come to an agreement on a long-term deal, meaning he will play under the franchise tag again in 2018.
Star running back Bell and the Steelers were unable to agree terms before Monday's 16:00 EST deadline.
Bell was reportedly chasing a contract worth $17 million annually but will instead play for $14.5 million under the tender.
He wrote on Twitter: "To all my Steeler fans, my desire always has been to retire a Steeler... both sides worked extremely hard today to make that happen, but the NFL is a hard business at times... to the fans that had hope, I'm sorry we let you down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date..."
to all my Steeler fans, my desire always has been to retire a Steeler...both sides worked extremely hard today to make that happen, but the NFL is a hard business at times...to the fans that had hope, I’m sorry we let youu down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date...— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) July 16, 2018
Bell's agent Adisa Bakari, as quoted by ESPN's Adam Schefter, indicated 2018 could be Bell's final year in Pittsburgh, saying: "His intention was to retire as a Steeler. But now that there's no deal, the practical reality is, this now likely will Le'Veon's last season as a Steeler. It became clear the Steelers wanted to pay the position, not the player."
In a statement, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said: "Even though we could not reach a long-term contract agreement with Le'Veon Bell, we are excited he will be with the team in 2018. We worked very hard to find common ground, but we were unable to accomplish that prior to today's deadline. Le'Veon will play this season under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation.
"After the 2018 season is completed, we again will attempt to work out a long-term contract with Le'Veon in the hope that he will continue his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers."
Statement from GM Kevin Colbert on Le’Veon Bell: pic.twitter.com/APTMajqdbF— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 16, 2018
The Steelers used the tag on Bell for the second straight year this offseason, prompting him to so far repeat his stance from last year, when he sat out workouts and training camp before signing the tender prior to the start of the regular season.
It remains to be seen if Bell will skip training camp once again. Some reports have suggested he may even sit out part of the regular season.
Bell, 26, finished with 321 carries for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games last season.
The Steelers are scheduled to report for training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, next week.
|CAF Champions League Review: Wydad, Al Ahly & TP Mazembe qualify|
|Stephen Curry wants to finish his career with Warriors|
|Hazard among Europe´s best but can improve, says Sarri|
|Tigers boost top-two hopes, Giants close in on fourth|
|Birmingham City 0 Swansea City 0: Monk´s men held despite dominance|
|Inter taking legal action against Tebas over Modric transfer comments|
|Serie A transfer round-up: Zaza joins Torino, Parma sign Gervinho|
|Roma chief Pallotta makes light of De Laurentiis claim|
|Federer starts double-header by seeing off resilient Mayer|
|Ospina joins Napoli on loan from Arsenal|
|Klavan completes Cagliari switch|
|Djokovic holds out against Dimitrov as Raonic awaits|
|New dates confirmed for postponed Serie A fixtures|
|Halep breezes past Barty to set up Tsurenko clash on same day|
|Olesen unable to capitalise on strong start as Jamieson, Waring go clear|
|Hoffenheim tie Kramaric to four-year deal|
|Mina to miss Southampton clash while Gomes is ´weeks´ away|
|Barcelona coach Valverde dismisses Pogba speculation|
|Valverde not prioritising Champions League over defending Barcelona´s LaLiga title|
|Allegri thanks outgoing Juventus icon Marchisio|
|Pants display from Beef? Johnston forced into change of trousers in Sweden|
|Tour champion Thomas has Welsh velodrome named in his honour|
|Gloucester surprised and disappointed by RFU´s swift Cipriani charge|
|Storm skipper Smith´s back injury not ´too serious´|
|Spurs fixture switch doesn´t appeal to Guardiola|
|Brazil call up Andreas Pereira & Arthur but omit Man City stars|
|Mbappe returns to PSG squad, Kehrer set for debut|
|No Messi in Argentina squad as Simeone wins first call-up|
|England man Roy embarrassed by self-inflicted facial injury|
|Atletico Madrid fined for breaching third-party regulations|
|Cipriani charged by RFU after common assault conviction|
|No contact, no negotiation - Leonardo denies AC Milan deal for Milinkovic-Savic|
|Kovacic set for Chelsea debut against Arsenal|
|Fury´s father restrained as Wilder crashes Pianeta weigh-in|
|Kohli and Bumrah fit for win-or-bust Test|
|Stokes ready and desperate to help England, says Root|
|Salah, Mane and Firmino not in competition says Klopp|
|Darmian staying at Manchester United, says Mourinho|
|Guardiola cites fatigue as factor for stricken De Bruyne|
|Kovac approves Rudy departure from bloated Bayern midfield|
|Klopp insists no player leaves without his approval amid Klavan rumours|
|Real Madrid complain to FIFA over Inter´s alleged Modric approach|
|Mourinho ´has never been so happy´ with unsettled Pogba|
|Manly implode amid Barrett uncertainty, Storm´s Smith injured|
|Sarri certain Hazard is staying at Chelsea|
|Liverpool, Champions League, Manchester derby - The matches De Bruyne will miss due to injury|
|Campbell joins Frosinone from Arsenal on permanent deal|
|Schalke sign Lille´s Mendyl to end left-back hunt|
|Stokes back in England team as Curran drops out|
|Ronaldo doesn´t guarantee Juventus the title, warns Allegri|
|Tuchel keen to guide PSG star Mbappe after World Cup heroics|
|Yuri: I can see Neymar joining Real Madrid|
|Milan pounce for Castillejo as Bacca joins Villarreal permanently|
|De Bruyne to miss three months for Manchester City|
|Manchester City talent Arzani completes Celtic loan|
|I know how precious my career is, says regretful Cipriani|
|Paulo Bento named new South Korea coach|
|Milan complete Laxalt deal|
|Poyet suspended by Bordeaux after outburst against board|
|Tuchel will let Neymar and Cavani settle penalties themselves|
|Hooper: We´re ready, bring on the All Blacks!|
|Outstanding Australia deserve our respect - Read|
|Dragons´ Widdop set for Finals return|
|Jamshed found guilty of corruption and banned for 10 years|
|Bennett will not be sacked, insist Broncos|
|Marchisio leaves Juventus|
|The Breakdown: A statistical look at round one of the Rugby Championship|
|Durham sign Bancroft for 2019|
|Wolfsburg to fine Hinds after training no-show|
|Rugby Championship 2018: Team-by-team guide|