While there’s still no firm word as to when or even if Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell will eventually show up and sign his franchise tag in the coming weeks, it does look more and more like the organization won’t be trading him.
“I expect him to be a member of the team going forward,” Steelers team president Art Rooney II told the NFL Network this past week in response to a question about possible Bell trade talks. “That’s my expectation.”
While Rooney doesn’t think the Steelers will trade Bell in the coming weeks, something they can’t do anyway until he shows up and signs his franchise tag tender, the team’s president did tell the league’s network that he is surprised by how long the whole ordeal with the running back has gone on this season.
“Yes,” Rooney said. “Yes, I am.”
The Steelers are on their bye week this weekend and while Bell could show up on Monday, there’s been no indication that he’ll do that and it’s probably unlikely being as he didn’t show up during the off week. Most of the speculation now seems to be that Bell will wait to show up until after the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday, Oct. 30, which is one day after Week 8 wraps up.
If and when Bell does eventually show up, it would likely take him at least two full weeks to get back into the kind of football shape needed to allow him to contribute offensively. The Steelers would likely use a two-week roster exemption on Bell during that initial phase.