Le’Veon Bell will report to the Steelers and sign his tender before the start of the regular season.
That’s according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who added that it remains unclear exactly when Bell will return to the team. Bell has remained away from the Steelers after he declined the team’s long-term offer on July 17. He will make $12.12 million under the franchise tag this season.
Bell’s absence has been one of the main storylines during Pittsburgh’s 2017 training camp. Among the members of the organization to speak about Bell’s absence has been his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who said that Bell has yet to return either of his text messages over the past month.
“I texted him right before camp, just to talk to him and see what was going on, to see if I could help with anything and hadn’t heard anything back, then texted him again when we got here just to see what’s going on and didn’t hear back again,” Roethlisberger said in an interview with 93.7 The Fan. “The line, we all got in a group message and he responded back to everybody, so it’s one of those things.
“I don’t know if he thought I was trying to encourage him to come, I just wanted to reach out and check on him, what can I do to help.”
Roethlisberger added that getting back into football shape will be Bell’s biggest challenge whenever he decides to return to the team.
“He’s probably working his butt off right now, but so is Martavis (Bryant), and I know it for a fact that Martavis was sucking wind (on Sunday), and he laughed about it and said, ‘Man, this football thing is different.’ Even when he comes back, there’s still a transition, a little bit of a curve about being in football shape. You cannot simulate being in football shape on your own.”
The team’s 2016 MVP, Bell amassed 1,884 all-purpose yards in 12 regular season games. He also set the team’s regular season and playoff single game rushing records, rushing or 236 yards and three scores against the Bills in Week 14 and 170 yards against the Chiefs in the AFC divisional round. Bell was unable to play beyond the beginning of the second quarter against the Patriots, however, as a nagging groin injury sustained two weeks earlier against the Dolphins proved too much to play through.
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