Tomlin: I Expect Bell to be Ready

Steelers coach direct as team breaks before camp

Josh Rowntree
June 14, 2018 - 2:56 pm
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Mike Tomlin has a message for Le’Veon Bell. 

The Steelers running back has not signed his franchise tag and has not participated in any voluntary OTA sessions or this week’s mandatory minicamp. 

Tomlin was asked what he expects when Bell arrives, whenever that might be.

"I expect him to be ready,” Tomlin said at the conclusion of minicamp Thursday. "To be ready to be a big component for us in 2018. He’s been around us long enough to know and understand and embrace that.”

A year ago, Bell was in a similar situation and did not show up to offseason workouts or training camp. When he rejoined the team, he appeared rusty in the first couple of weeks of the season.

Tomlin, who believes heavily in the importance of offseason workouts and training camp in particular, understands the benefits for running backs to be with the team.

"Football conditioning,” he said. "You can run and get in shape. You can do cardio work, but there’s no substitute for the unanticipated direction changes associated with playing. The reactionary things, particularly at the running back position, that’s what this environment provides them."

The Steelers will break until training camp begins July 25 at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.

"It’s the end of what’s been a good offseason for us,” Tomlin said. "As we head into the summer, we challenged the guys in several ways. The new guys, the guys that haven’t been exposed to us, we challenged them to simply be in the best shape of their lives." 

"The guys that have been with us before, we told them that if they assume anything, assume that more will be required of them this year than what’s been required of them in the past. That’s a prudent approach to take.”

While OTAs and minicamp are formative times, especially for young players, it’s universally agreed upon that, without pads, a lot is left on the table. 

"I look forward to getting into Latrobe with this group and starting a formal development in pads and taking a significant step in that way,” Tomlin said. "But I like the work that transpired out here. A lot of teaching, learning, culture building and getting a sense of what’s expected and understood.”

"I love camp. I’d go tonight. It’s just how I am. I’m a football lover. I love that environment. I love the unintended consequences of training camp. The unique bonding opportunities. The growth opportunities, individually and collectively.”

But, Tomlin will have to wait. The team gets the next five weeks to prepare. Numerous players commented that they’ll spend the time readying for the tackling and contact elements that will be added in Latrobe. 

As for what Tomlin will do to kill the time?

"Mind my business,” he said.