“It doesn’t change our planning,” Colbert continued. “When we scout in the fall, we scout every position. Even when Ben was a young player, we still evaluated the quarterback class, because how the quarterbacks stack up (in the draft) is going to affect how the tackles stack up and how the receivers stack up. We always evaluate every position, and if Ben would decide to retire we would be prepared then to move accordingly. I hope we don’t get to that situation for a few more years.
“I’m working under the assumption that until he says he’s retired officially, then he’s not. If he decides to (retire), then we’ll act accordingly, but in the meantime we’re not going to get out of sorts with potential retirements… I’m hopeful and confident Ben will be back.”
Ben Roethlisberger has been with the Steelers, who took him with the 11th pick in the 2004 draft, his entire 13-year career. He figures to retire as a member of the Steelers, which is also how Colbert wants Bell to end his career.
The two sides have to work out a long-term deal and the Steelers could place the franchise tag on Bell by March 1 to prevent him from becoming a free agent on March 9. Bell was a second-round pick of the Steelers in 2013 and has rushed for 4,045 yards and 26 touchdowns despite missing 14 games because of injuries and suspensions.
Things went poorly with that, to put it mildly. Hey, if they hadn’t, the Chiefs would be dealing with someone else’s long-term negotiations, instead of with their single best defensive player and, if not the very best in the league at his position, one of the top three.
By rule, a player can be tagged three straight times. No team has been crazy enough to try it. There’s no reason to think it will happen with Berry. But that’s always hanging out there, right over the head of a key player in the middle of his prime reaching a career crossroads.