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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell warms up before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

Running back Le'Veon Bell might be upping the ante in his contract standoff with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"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," ESPN's Adam Schefter said on SiriusXM Radio (h/t Ross Tucker of SiriusXM). "The goal at that point would be to hit 2019 free agency healthy, not rack up another 400 touches."

Bell, 26, has until 4 p.m. ET on Monday to agree to a long-term deal with the Steelers, after which he has to either sign his $14.5 million franchise tender or begin a holdout. Based on Schefter's report—and the fact that Bell held out last season until the first week of September—it would appear he's leaning toward a holdout, and a lengthy one at that.

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