Steelers, Tomlin Ready for Another Camp Without Bell

Steelers RB not present as team opens training camp

Josh Rowntree
July 25, 2018 - 6:50 pm
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) sits on the bench against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


It’s official. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is again skipping, at least, the start of training camp. 

When players reported to St. Vincent College in Latrobe Wednesday, Bell was nowhere to be found following the failure to come to a long-term agreement with the team. 

Now, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, for a second straight year, must lead a team through the preseason without one of its top players. 

"I’m focused on the guys that are here,” Tomlin said. "My mentality regarding Le’Veon will be very similar to the way it was a year ago. Obviously, both sides tried in earnest to get a deal done. We weren’t able to do that and now we transition and move forward to our 2018 season.”

Bell seemed to struggle in the early going last year, after missing all of camp. Through Pittsburgh’s first three games, Bell averaged just 60 yards per contest. 

"When he gets here, we’ll evaluate his overall readiness and how much time he missed and see the ramifications of that,” Tomlin said. "Until then, I’m going to be singularly focused on those that are here working and their development. I just think that’s appropriate. 

"I thought he did a nice job when he showed up a year ago in terms of his overall approach and attitude. I didn’t have any qualms with that.”

Tomlin did indicate that he’s had a line of communication with Bell this offseason.

"It’s been fluid, it’s been normal,” he said. "But, I’ll leave the details of it between he and I.”

When asked if he had any reason to believe that Bell may show up to camp, Tomlin fell back on his previous comments and added that he was done taking questions on Bell. 

He is, however, looking forward to what other backs, such as James Conner, Stevan Ridley and rookie Jaylen Samuels, are able to bring to the table.

"We’ll see,” Tomlin added. "I’m encouraged by some of the candidates that we have. We’re going to roll that ball out and give them an opportunity to show that. How they perform will maybe give us a sense of maybe what the competition is like and what the depth is like. 

"I try not to have any preconceived notions. You really just try to get 90 capable men in a competitive environment and go through the process. So, I’m looking forward to that."