Steelers players not fretting Bell's absence

Ross Houston
September 5, 2018

Le'Veon Bell was not at the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice on Monday.

Bell has missed the past two training camps due to rocky franchise tag negotiations and skipped Monday's practice, prompting general manager Kevin Colbert to issue a statement that the team was "disappointed".

"We are disappointed Le'Veon Bell has not signed his franchise tender and rejoined his teammates", read Colbert's account of the situation.

Bell has been expected to sign his franchise tender and play in Week 1 as he did last season. "I trust James", he said. "Coach Tomlin and the coaching staff will continue to focus on preparing the players on our roster for our regular season opener on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns".

Although no one seems to know the answer to that question, Maurkice Pouncey does have a theory on how this is all going to play out.

Tomlin said he hasn't communicated with his star running back this week, and he was vague on expectations for Bell's arrival.

"Whenever he comes, we'll welcome him with open arms", he said. The Steelers will use second-year quarterback Joshua Dobbs as the backup, with rookie Mason Rudolph starting the season as the No. 3 quarterback. You see Khalil Mack? "You ever think the Raiders would let him go?"

"Last year [Bell] didn't need any [practices] and was best in the league", Pouncey said.

"We all know Le'Veon's running style is unique and it's different for the line, it's a change for everybody but I think James Conner really took advantage of the opportunity and has done some great things". The team is so locked in and focused on what we have to do at hand this weekend.

That would be James Conner, whose impressive preseason might just earn him serious playing time Sunday at Cleveland regardless of what happens with Bell.

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