Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Mike Tomlin playing it cool over Le'Veon Bell

Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell expected to sign franchise tender fairly soonMore Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell expected to sign franchise tender fairly soonMore
Eugene Bates | 05 September, 2018, 15:41

With running back Le'Veon Bell still on a holdout with less than a week before the new National Football League season kicks off, it's becoming increasingly apparent that he won't be there on the field when his team takes on the Cleveland Browns this coming Sunday.

"When he gets here, that's when we'll start quantifying all Le'Veon Bell related things, his overall readiness, the amount of time that we have between his arrival and our next competition", Tomlin said, adding he has not been in communication with Bell this week. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert wholeheartedly expected Bell to sign a franchise tender and rejoin his 'mates, since he'd broken his pressure tactic under similar circumstances at the beginning of last season. But during Coach Mike Tomlin's news conference today at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, he answered three questions with one-word answers, and those answers spoke volumes about how the Steelers are viewing their running back situation heading into the 2018 regular season opener in Cleveland.

Last year, when Bell played under the franchise tag, he reported to the Steelers on Labour Day and suited up in Week 1. Pittsburgh takes on the Cleveland Browns in the season opener again this year, and if Bell does report Wednesday his practice time will be even more limited than it was at this time last year.

The Steelers will move forward in preparations for the Cleveland Browns with James Conner as the starting running back. Unless they remove his franchise tag, every game he misses from here on in will result in a $900,000 penalty, divisible from his $14.5 million salary.

Center and team captain Maurkice Pouncey told ESPN he expects Bell to be in uniform Wednesday.

"I spoke to him before camp, but that's it", Roethlisberger said. It's fine. He showed up a year ago at the same time.

Bell continues to remain away from the Steelers' facility after sides couldn't come to an agreement on a long-term contract before the July deadline. "I trust James", he said.

Guard Ramon Foster said the team is focused on "the 53 that are here". "We spent a lot of time talking about the growth and development of James Conner, and appropriately so. He provided good and consistent play for us".

If he misses games this year, Bell could lose around $855,000 per contest.

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