Steelers receiver Antonio Brown supported his teammate Le'Veon Bell on Friday, commenting on the controversy surrounding the star running back's holdout.
"No one wins when the family feuds," Brown told reporters Friday as he prepares for the Week 1 matchup with the Cleveland Browns. "At the end of the day, we're family. We want the best for him. That's what it's all about. It's not about pointing fingers and fighting among each other. We are a core group that should respect and love each other regardless of the situation."
Le'Veon Bell still hasn't joined the Steelers as he continues to hold out under the franchise tag, and some Steelers players have already voiced their problems with the decision. However, Bell does have one pretty big name in his corner.
Antonio Brown is currently the second highest-paid receiver in the NFL with an average cap hit of $17 million a year, so he knows about getting his money. On Thursday night, Brown posted a picture of Bell and Brown celebrating a touchdown together, along with a message: "We all we got, we all we need. ready to roll whenever you get back with us, family."
Bell has not decided when to return to the Steelers and will forfeit $853,000 for each week he doesn't show up. He must sign his tender by 4 p.m. Saturday to get paid for Week 1. Bell and the Steelers failed to reach a long-term contract in each of the past two summers, and the running back isn't happy about playing on the franchise tag.
Brown, who is eyeing a sixth consecutive 100-catch season, never has played on the tag but wanted a new contract in the 2015 and 2016 offseasons. He never stayed away from the team and signed a four-year, $68 million extension last offseason.
Of course, that "when" is looking more and more like an "if." The Steelers hit Bell with the franchise tag, and he does not seem to have any interest in playing under it. The star running back is still nowhere to be found as the Steelers approach Week 1 against the Browns.