Pittsburgh Steelers star running back Le’Veon Bell has put himself squarely in a tough situation with the team this season with his decision to continue to hold out.

There has yet to be any clarity on when he plans on making his return to the fold with the only possible target date being the Tuesday after Week 10, as that is the deadline for him to great credit for playing the 2018 season in order to become a free agent next offseason.

With that said, former Steelers linebacker James Harrison stated during an appearance on FS1 that Bell should return but then fake an injury to preserve his body for the 2019 campaign, according to Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.

“I think the play for Le’Veon, if I’m Le’Veon, is I’m coming back — what is it, November 13? — and I’m gonna go in there, I’m gonna get my credit for the season I need to get, and I’m gonna do the best I can to get out of that season healthy. And, for me, I’d give you everything in practice, you would see — the cameras would see — that I am fine, I am healthy. But come Saturday, ‘Something ain’t right, I can’t play on Sunday.’ Because if I go out here and I mess something up I’m losing a lot of money,” Harrison said on FS1.

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This may seem like a sneaky plan for Bell in order to get to next offseason healthy, but the Steelers could easily suspect that the 26-year-old is faking the injury and look to suspend him for his action without pay. His case would also not hold up strong if the team decided to take it to the league office, which could hurt his chances to maintain that credit for the year.

It is a tough situation for Bell in either direction as he is trying to get through the 2018 campaign without possibly facing any nagging or serious injury along the way. Things have been made clear from the Steelers that they won’t pay him what he’s looking to get on a long-term deal while they are growing more comfortable with rolling with James Conner as their answer in the backfield.

All of this just leads to what will be an awkward situation once Bell returns, as it will put the Steelers in a spot of deciding whether to play him or even how to utilize him given his standing with the team. This is a sticky situation that could get muddier over the next few weeks.