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2017 Offseason Questions: Should Bell Be Present?

The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Does it matter whether or not Le’Veon Bell makes his presence felt during June?

It has been a bit of a question in recent weeks about where Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is. For the most part, he has not been at the Steelers’ facility while he is continuing to rehab from an offseason surgery on his groin, an injury that forced him out of the AFC Championship game.

As we covered yesterday, Jeremy Fowler reported that Bell did show up on Thursday and was at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, although, of course, he did not join his teammates on the field. Fowler also said that he “could be part of minicamp”, which sort of suggests that he doesn’t intend to continue to appear for the final week of OTAs.

My brief pulse of the matter has revealed that there are some diverse opinions as to whether or not this matters. Of note is the fact that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seemed to call Bell out somewhat a couple of weeks ago while speaking to reporters, essentially saying that it would be nice if he were here to support his teammates even if he were not on the field.

Other players who are injured or recovering from surgeries are also around the team, if not practicing in a mild capacity. Most notable would be Stephon Tuitt, who is not practicing, and Sean Davis, who is going through individual drills.

Bell has been rehabbing on his own, but, as noted, did evidently pop in recently. So does it matter whether or not he is actually around the team while he is not even able to practice? Would he be here if he had a long-term contract extension already in hand, or is that irrelevant?

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