Where's Le'Veon? Bell A No-Show At Steelers Practice Monday

Steelers GM Colbert says team is 'disappointed'

Josh Rowntree
September 03, 2018 - 11:54 am
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) carries the ball as Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) chases in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - The Steelers hit the practice field Monday with a more trimmed down version of their roster than the last gathering. But one thing remained the same, as running back Le’Veon Bell was nowhere to be found. 

“We’re disappointed Le’Veon Bell has not signed his franchise tender and rejoined his teammates,” Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. 

“Coach Tomlin and the coaching staff will continue to focus on preparing the players on our roster for our regular season opening on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.”

Bell, who could play this season on a $14.5 million franchise tag, seemed to deny reports that he told teammates he would show up on Monday in a tweet last Tuesday. 

“Obviously we’d love to have him here, but he’s got to handle what he’s got to handle,” said defensive end Cam Heyward. “It doesn’t stop or deter what we want to do.

“We want to win every game, we want to win a Super Bowl. If he’s along for the ride, he’s along for the ride. But, until he gets here, we’ll worry about the guys in the locker room.”

The Steelers elected to keep running backs James Conner, Stevan Ridley and rookie Jaylen Samuels on the active roster. If Bell does not arrive, Conner would likely get the bulk of the carries in Sunday opener in Cleveland.

“I’m super comfortable with that,” Conner said. “I got drafted, so I want to play football.”

Conner has the resounding support of his teammates, as well. 

“James knows it,” guard Ramon Foster said. “One of the things he had to pick up was the protection. That’s always the thing with the young guys and his protection has been A-1 in this camp. So I’m looking forward to him.”

The Pittsburgh roster was seemingly either loyal to Bell or did not care to discuss his absence. 

“It’s fine,” center Maurkice Pouncey said. “Whenever he gets here, we’ll celebrate with him.”

Pouncey insists that a team that was, at times, derailed in 2017 by distractions, won’t let Bell’s void get to them.

“It doesn’t at all,” he said. “I promise you, it doesn’t. The team’s so locked in and focused on what we’ve got to do at hand this weekend. Whenever he comes, we’ll welcome him with open arms and hopefully he’s in shape and ready to run the football.”

“There’s 53 [players> plus ten [practice squad players> out here,” Foster added. “We’ll deal with that, you feel me? That’s just where we are as a team.”

Should Bell not play Sunday, he would sacrifice a game check of $909,000.

“That’s his money,” Pouncey said. “I’m not worried about the money, I’m worried about winning football games.”

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