Today is obviously the deadline for Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell to report to the team if he wants to play at all the remainder of the season. That reminder aside, it’s certainly not sounding like Bell will show up and sign his franchise tender by today’s 4 p.m. deadline, according to several different media reports released over the last couple of days and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Tuesday morning during his weekly radio interview on 93.7 The Fan that he’s still yet to hear anything from the running back when it comes to his intentions today.
“I don’t think anybody’s heard,” Roethlisberger said. “Everybody I’ve talked to, no one’s heard anything.”
Roethlisberger was also asked on Tuesday if he wants Bell to show up today and him start being a part of the team once again. His answer was quite interesting.
“Well, I think if he wants to be a part of this team, that’s the bigger question,” Roethlisberger said. “Like, if he wants to come here and be a part of this team, then absolutely. I mean, he’s one of the best players in football. Why wouldn’t you want an extra weapon, why wouldn’t you want a guy that could come do some special things on the football field and give James [Conner] a break? Things like that, but it’s only if he wants to. We don’t want someone to come out here just because he has to or he feels obligated or whatever it is. So, if he wanted to be out there with us, then, yes, we’ll welcome him back.”
Basically, Roethlisberger is saying all the right things. Yes, he would welcome Bell back if he wants to be back and if he were to return, he would probably be asked just to occasionally spell fellow running back James Conner, at least initially. All season, Roethlisberger has been very supportive of Conner and he’s indicated more than once that the second-year running back should not be forced to go to sideline should Bell decide he ultimately wants to play this season.
We’ll see how things turn out later this afternoon when the deadline arrives, but it doesn’t sound like Roethlisberger and the rest of the Steelers offense will be bothered one bit should Bell not report to sign his franchise tag tender.