Monday’s NFL: Bell, Steelers fail to reach agreement

Detroit News staff and wire services

Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to come to an agreement on a contract by Monday’s deadline, but the team’s franchise player held out hope for a future with the team on Twitter.

Bell (Michigan State) is slated to be a free agent after playing the 2018 season for his franchise-tagged salary of $14.544 million.

“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 the fans that had hope, I’m sorry we let youu down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date...,” the running back tweeted Monday afternoon.

Earlier in the day on Sirius XM NFL Radio ESPN’s Adam Schefter had taken a less optimistic tone regarding Bell’s near future with the team.

“I think it’s possible Le’Veon Bell sits out the first half of the year if he doesn’t get a long-term deal done,” he said as reported by the Washington Post. “The goal at that point would be to hit 2019 free agency healthy, not rack up another 400 touches.”

Esiason gives up MNF radio

Boomer Esiason is dropping his national radio duties on NFL Monday night games.

Esiason was the analyst on Westwood One’s broadcast for 18 years, sharing the booth with Kevin Harlan and, before that, Marv Albert and Howard David. The 1988 NFL MVP called the Super Bowl for each of those seasons.

Citing his daily drive-time radio show in New York and his work on CBS and Showtime studio shows, Esiason said Monday “the timing was right for me to step away.”

A 14-year NFL veteran who led the Bengals to the 1988 AFC title, Esiason made four Pro Bowls. He ranks first among left-handed quarterbacks with 247 touchdown passes, and 19th overall.

Packers profits decline

The Packers’ profit fell by nearly 50 percent in the last fiscal year as the team missed the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

President and CEO Mark Murphy said the outlook for the Packers remains strong as the NFL’s only publicly owned team released its 2018 financial statement. The Packers announced a profit from operations of $34.1 million, a steep decline from $65.4 million a year earlier.

Expenses soared 11.9 percent, from $376.1 million to $420.9 million, a byproduct of player salaries, coaching changes and travel costs. Revenue increased just 3.1 percent from $441.4 million to $454.9 million.

Worthy causes

The Charlotte nonprofit Foundation for the Carolinas said it has been given a $30 million contribution from a Panthers investor donating some of his proceeds from the recent sale of the team.

The investor, Derick Springsteen Close, was among those who sold the franchise to hedge fund manager David Tepper, in a $2.275 billion purchase made official last week. Close’s donation represents a “sizable” percentage of the proceeds he realized from the sale, foundation officials said.

Close, part of an 11-member group of limited partners at the time of the sale, was an initial investor when the NFL awarded a team to the Carolinas in 1993.