Powell: Hey, Pittsburgh, give Le’Veon Bell his money. Or else.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) celebrates scoring a touchdown in the second quarter of the NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Hey, you, give Le’Veon Bell his money.

I’m of course talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers.

If you haven’t been following, the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell have a disagreement on what Bell’s salary should be — his contract runs out, again, in March. With Bell not getting his money for the second consecutive season under the franchise tag, he didn’t show up to training camp and preseason as a result.

One day from opening day, and Bell still isn’t with the team.

And it’s for good reason.

Bell understands the NFL isn’t just a football game, it also comes along with a business that is worth millions and millions in payouts.

He’s not getting any younger, and he’s in a contract year — and he understands this.

According to his agent Adisa Bakari, Bell wants to ‘preserve long-term health’. Bell also told ESPN in January that he wasn’t ‘accepting another 400 touches on a salary he felt was below his value’. With the chaos surrounding head trauma issues in the NFL and how violent the game of football is, can you blame him?

He’s 26 years old, and plays a position that has an average retirement age of 30-32 years old — a position that he’s probably been playing since pee-wee, then worked his way through middle school, then worked hard in high school, then continued the hard work for another set of years at Michigan State before even stepping foot into the NFL — he’s put in another five years of work there.

Point, blank, period: Give Le’Veon Bell his money — especially with the mega-contracts that Todd Gurley, Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald have received.

After all, it’s a business. And you would think NFL players out of anybody would understand this.

But no, not everybody. His teammates took it upon themselves to air their dirty laundry, completely disrespecting Bell, his finances and his life — as well as common sense ethic rules with fellow teammates.

“What do you do? Here’s a guy who doesn’t give a damn, I guess, so we’ll treat it as such. I just hate it came to this,” offensive lineman Ramon Foster said to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s making seven times what I make, twice as much as Al [Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva] is making, and we’re the guys who do it for him.”

You’re breaking tackles, Ramon? You’re juking linebackers and cornerbacks, Ramon? You have the media spotlight and pressure on you, Ramon? Your jersey sales are making the Pittsburgh Steelers and NFL money, Ramon? Nonsense.

“Why play hide-and-seek? Why let your agent say this? Just man up and tell us what you’re going to do,” commented offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey.

This coming from someone who has said agent who speaks for him during contract negotiations. It’s truly incredible.

Le’Veon Bell deserves his money, there’s no other way around it.

In just five seasons in the NFL, Bell is a 3x Pro Bowler, 2x First-team All-Pro, 1x Second-team All-Pro — and nevermind that this was the same guy who led Michigan State to a Big Ten championship in college, as well as appearing on the All-American team.

He’s had three 1,000-yard seasons — combining for a total of 5,336 yards in his five years, and don’t forget about the 35 touchdowns. And Steelers fans supporting the franchise in this situation, let’s also not forget that the man just rushed 1,291 yards for you last season and added nine touchdowns with it.

You’ve also got to remember as well: Bell is only 26 years old. He hasn’t even hit his prime yet. Imagine how dominant this cat will be when he hits 28 here in a couple of years, right at the peak of his prime — don’t you want to see that in a Steelers uniform?

I thought so, and that’s exactly why Bell has been so stern on his stance.

It all goes back to what I was saying earlier, this is a personal move for Bell.

He’s 26 years old and only getting older, and he wants his money now. Any average human being in this situation would be the exact same way. This is the last opportunity that Bell will have to cash in and bankroll from a mega-contract.

After the work he’s already put in, and will put in, and how young he still is, Bell both deserves the money and is worth it.

If the Steelers keep him on the franchise tag this season, they’ll pay him a cool $14.5 million. If they do it again in 2019, he’ll collect over a smooth $20 million.

Regardless, Bell is getting his money — with or without Pittsburgh.

If Le’Veon Bell is forced to sit out and Pittsburgh suffers a season without a playoff appearance, and loses a Pro Bowl runningback in the process, you can blame the Steelers. Not Bell.

Hey, Pittsburgh, give him his money. Or else.