The Pittsburgh Steelers released their Week 2 depth chart on Tuesday and this time the name of running back Le’Veon Bell was omitted from it entirely. Obviously, Bell being left off this week’s depth chart is creating quite a stir, but quite honestly, it probably shouldn’t.
As has been the case all offseason, Bell still isn’t under contract with the Steelers as he’s yet to sign the franchise tag tender they had issued him way back in February. While the Steelers did list Bell as their staring running back a week ago with an asterisk beside his name that indicated he had not yet signed his franchise tender, omitting him entirely this week not only isn’t shocking, it sort of sends a message to the AWOL player in the process.
During his Tuesday press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if he’s had any recent correspondence with Bell.
“I have not, no,” Tomlin said.
Immediately after being asked that question, Tomlin was then asked if he’s received any clarity the last few days as to when Bell will show up and sign his franchise tag tender.
“No, I have not and from that perspective, nothing has changed regarding us,” Tomlin replied. “We’re preparing to play this week with the guys that are here and working, James [Conner] being central to that. I will not withhold information from you guys. If and when any of that changes, I’ll let you know. If it does not, my answer will remain the same.”
Just prior to Tomlin being asked about Bell during his weekly press conference, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was also asked about the running back during his morning interview on 93.7 The Fan.
“I have not talked to him and I’m not even setting expectations so that I can’t be excited or disappointed,” Roethlisberger said when asked if he’s recently talked to Bell and if he’s expecting him to report this week. “I’m just proceeding this week just like we did last week with James and the rest of the guys who are in the building. So, I have no clue what to expect.”
Speculation about when Bell might ultimately report and sign his franchise tag tender has once again been rampant the last several days but it’s just that, speculation. Even his agent Adisa Bakari wouldn’t give a reporting date for his client a week ago during his interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio. In short, nobody knows for sure when Bell will finally report.
For now, however, it appears Bell will miss the Steelers Week 2 game against the Kansas City Chiefs unless he reports and signs his franchise tag tender prior to the team’s Wednesday practice. Until he does report, expect him to be left off future depth charts.