The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will Le’Veon Bell show up this week?
I’m sorry, but you know we had to ask the question at some point over the course of the next couple of days. It might as well be on game day while the Steelers don’t play. According to an ESPN report from a few weeks back, running back Le’Veon Bell’s plan was to report to the team by their Week Eight game.
The thought was that it would be the opportune time, because he could come in during the bye week for extra time to prepare. Of course that did not happen, as the bye week is now effectively over and he never showed up. But there is still time for him to be on the roster before they face the Cleveland Browns next week.
Most people with the Steelers, whether players, coaches, or front office, haven’t even heard from Bell this season, let alone had him confide in them his intentions. James Conner said that he has communicated with the running back, but that they have shied away from discussing his plans, so even he doesn’t know when they will see him.
If he doesn’t show up over the next few days, then it is essentially the week after or not at all. If he fails to report by Week Nine, then the Steelers could theoretically prevent him from playing at all, because they can receive a two-week roster exemption for him, and he has to be on the roster by Week 11 to play this year under the tag.
Week Nine would be after the trade deadline as well, so if that is what Bell was protecting against, then it would be the logical time to report. So, basically, if we do not see him over the course of the next 10 days or so, then chances are he will not be putting on pads until 2019.