Apparently the bye week, or the week after the bye, wasn’t Le’Veon Bell’s planned reporting date after all.
The Pittsburgh Steelers came back from the bye on Monday, and Le’Veon Bell hadn’t reported to sign his franchise tag. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Bell was not at the Steelers facility on Monday morning.
Eventually Bell, the All-Pro running back who has held out because he’s not happy to be on another one-year franchise tender, will report this season. But despite the reports and speculation that maybe he’d be back after the bye, it doesn’t seem that’s the case. Though, the week is young and nobody knows Bell’s plan.
When will Le’Veon Bell report?
On Sunday ESPN reported that the Steelers have not heard from Bell and have no idea when he’ll report, and that should seem obvious by now. There have been numerous reports on when Bell might return, including speculation it would be during the bye week, but we’re still waiting.
One part of the ESPN story that was interesting was that Bell might not want to be traded and wouldn’t report to sign his tender until after the Oct. 30 trade deadline. The Steelers can’t trade him if he doesn’t sign the tender before then. The team has said it won’t trade Bell, but it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s posturing in this story anymore. It would also be difficult for the Steelers to get fair compensation for Bell in a trade, because his new team couldn’t negotiate a long-term deal and they’d be getting a player who isn’t happy on a one-year deal and hasn’t played football since January.
Steelers back in first place
The Steelers have filled in decently without Bell. James Conner has had some big games. They still do miss Bell, however. Bell might be the most talented running back in the NFL. It’s hard to replace what he does.
While the Steelers were on a bye they saw the rest of the AFC North go 0-3 on Sunday. They’re now back in first place at 3-2-1. No matter some of the hard feelings attached to Bell’s holdout from both sides, it would be a huge boost for a first-place team to add a difference-maker like Bell in midseason.
We just don’t know when Bell plans to show up.
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