The three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro led the league with a career-high 321 carries in 15 games last season for the Steelers. He also had 1,291 yards and nine scores on the ground. Bell also had 655 yards and two scores on a career-best 85 catches.
"His intention was to retire as a Steeler," Bell's agent Adisa Bakari told ESPN and NFL Network. "But now that there's no deal, the practical reality is, this now likely will be Le'Veon's last season as a Steeler."
Bell and the Steelers were not able to reach an agreement for a long term contract by Monday's 4 p.m. deadline. That means he will play on the franchise tag for the second consecutive year. Bell made $12.1 million on the tag in 2017 and will cash in for $14.5 million this season.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert issued a statement on the status of the negotiations with Bell on Monday.
"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," Colbert said. "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."
Despite rumors of a long holdout, Bell said 2018 will be the best season of his career, hinting that he would not miss regular season games.
"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," Bell tweeted. "To the fans that had hope, I'm sorry we let you down, but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date."