With the day nearly over for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it appears Le’Veon Bell has no plans on reporting to the team today. According to media reports, Bell was not in the Steelers’ locker room today and there’s been no indication he plans on showing up anytime Monday.
Previous reports, confirmed by players and coaches, say that Bell has not spoken to anyone associated with the team about when he will show up. Bell is expected to sign his franchise tag sometime during the bye week and be ready to play next Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Of course, we’ve all done this song and dance before, assuming Bell will report by “X” day and for that deadline to come and go with nothing happening.
And honestly, this is my own speculation here, there’s really no point in Bell showing up early during the bye week. From his point of view, skip the meetings, skip the practices, and show up by the end of the week, when he can take his physical, sign his tender, and leave until Monday. So Bell not showing up today is by no means a guarantee he is skipping out on the entire week.
Whenever Bell does report, he’ll almost certainly be placed on the roster exemption list, giving the Steelers up to two weeks with a 54 man roster, Bell not counting against them, until they decide to activate him and formally add him to the 53.
While Bell is obviously going to play, and probably start, whenever he’s back in shape, James Conner is going to have a significant role in the offense. Ben Roethlisberger’s joke about this being Conner’s “last game” felt like a veiled message to the coaches that Conner should play the rest of the way and in speaking to reporters, he’s openly lobbied for it.
We’ll update you whenever Bell does report and signs his franchise tag. But it doesn’t seem like today is that day.
UPDATE (6:31 PM)
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Bell is not expected to report to the Steelers this week.
Ed Bouchette first reported the news.