Steelers return to practice, again without Le’Veon Bell
Another week of Pittsburgh Steelers practice began Monday. And once again, Le’Veon Bell was not present.
There was no sign of Bell at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex as the Steelers returned from a four-day break over their bye week. An ESPN report earlier in the month said Bell planned to sign his franchise player tag during the bye, but Bell did not, and Monday the team began game-week preparations for Sunday’s home game against Cleveland.
“In our locker room, we’re not even worried about it,” defensive captain Cameron Heyward said. “It’s unfair for me to even talk about him. He’ll have to answer his questions when he wants to. We’re not talking about him right now. We have the Cleveland Browns. If he joins along the way, so be it. It’s not fair to everybody in this locker room and Le’Veon himself to keep talking about him.”
It’s still possible Bell reports and signs his tender before the Steelers practice Wednesday. Also, the NFL trade deadline is Oct. 30, which would present the next benchmark date he could join the team. The Steelers can ask for a two-week roster exemption for Bell, who must agree to the terms before he signs his franchise-tag tender. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported Sunday that Bell’s representatives contacted the Steelers last week to discuss terms of the roster exemption, and the hangup could be a reason he has not reported to the team.
Bell must be active for six weeks to accrue a full season of service time.
“You have to roll with what’s in front of you,” veteran offensive lineman Ramon Foster said Monday. “Right now, we just had a practice without him. Who knows, maybe we’ll see him. I haven’t talked to him, nobody has.”
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