PITTSBURGH — Le’Veon Bell is free to go. Antonio Brown, maybe not so much.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have no plans to place a transition tag on Bell, allowing the star running back to reach the open market when free agency begins next month. And while the team will explore moving Brown, GM Kevin Colbert stressed Wednesday the Steelers will not cut the talented but turbulent star wide receiver just to appease him.

“By no means are we going to make a trade or any type of move that will not be beneficial to the Pittsburgh Steeler organization,” Colbert said. “We will not be discounting (Brown) on the trade market and we certainly will not be releasing (him).”

Brown began openly campaigning for a new team shortly after Pittsburgh finished 9-6-1, upset after being made inactive for the regular-season finale against Cincinnati for failing to provide Coach Mike Tomlin with an update on his status after Tomlin sent Brown home from practice a couple of days before the game to nurse an injury.

The Steelers won but missed the playoffs. Brown has spent most of the last two months thumbing his nose at the organization via social media in an effort to assure he wouldn’t be welcomed back, including calling out quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for having an “owner mentality” and questioning Tomlin’s integrity.

Yet Colbert said he doesn’t believe Brown’s erratic behavior will hurt his trade value and didn’t even rule out a chance that Brown returns to Pittsburgh for a 10th season in 2019.

PANTHERS: Running backs coach Jim Skipper has retired from coaching after 32 years in the NFL, including 15 with Carolina.

Carolina ranked in the top 10 in rushing yards eight times in Skipper’s 15 seasons, including each of the last five years. Carolina’s running backs went to six Pro Bowls under Skipper and four were voted All-Pro.

Skipper was a member of both of Carolina’s Super Bowl teams in 2003 and 2015.

Later Wednesday, the Panthers hired Jake Peetz to replace Skipper.

Peetz has nine years of experience as an NFL coach, most recently with the Raiders from 2015-17. He spent last year working for Nick Saban at Alabama as an offensive analyst. He has also coached quarterbacks.

GIANTS: The NFL’s free agency period does not begin until March 13, but Wednesday brought a social media drama in three acts surrounding star safety and free agent-to-be Landon Collins.

It began with ESPN reporter Josina Anderson tweeting, “I’m told that Giants S Landon Collins cleaned out his locker today at the team facility and said his goodbyes to teammates, coaches and trainers. It doesn’t seem like Collins expects to be a Giant for much longer, per sources.”

That prompted three journalists who cover the Giants on a regular basis to counter Anderson’s report, saying that there were, in fact, still belongings in Collins’ locker.

One of them was the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz, who wrote that “Collins HAS NOT cleaned out his locker at the team facility.”

That in turn led to a cryptic, much-retweeted reply to Schwartz from Collins himself, who wrote, “The stuff in that locker that I have left I do not need 100.”

The Giants could retain their rights to Collins by using the franchise tag on him. The deadline for that decision is March 5.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.