Le’Veon Bell has been in a holding pattern the entire 2018 season.
Every step in this process, the Steelers have been wondering what their All-Pro running back was going to do. While the Steelers knew they wouldn’t see Bell during offseason workouts, or even training camp, once Week 1 rolled around and Bell was an absentee...the real waiting began.
As players were asked incessantly about Bell’s whereabouts, week by week Bell left $855 thousand dollars on the table weekly.
Rumors were Bell would report during the team’s Week 7 bye week.
Some thought when he bid farewell to Miami via Twitter, he was heading to the Steel City.
Well, he showed up, but just to play some pick up basketball at an LA Fitness.
It now came to the point where either Bell reports before Tuesday leading up to Week 11, or he is forced to sit out the entire season, this per the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFLPA and the NFL owners.
Most assume with Bell in the area, he will be showing up on Monday, or Tuesday, to get back on the field and possibly do some damage before hitting free agency next offseason.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, this isn’t likely to happen:
Steelers’ running back Le'Veon Bell is unlikely to report to the team by Tuesday's deadline, which would make him ineligible to play the rest of this season, multiple league sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 11, 2018
Schefter wasn’t the only NFL insider to have some sources, possibly the same ones, say how Bell isn’t going to be showing this season.
This from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
More coming on this for tomorrow’s @NFLGameDay: Despite owner Art Rooney’s comments on RB Le’Veon Bell, the team is not expecting their star RB to play for them this season, sources say. They want him back. But the belief is Bell will stay away & await free agency.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 11, 2018
The comments Rapoport is referring to by Art Rooney II would be comments he made to the NFL Network radio station on Sirius/XM Radio prior to the team’s Week 10 game vs. the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football. During the interview Rooney spoke about how the team fully expects Bell to return for the stretch run, and according to Rapoport the team wants Bell back, but Bell doesn’t reciprocate those feelings.
This could just be another rumor in this sordid timeline, or it could be the truth. Either way, fans will know soon enough whether Bell will be a part of this 2018 team, or if they will be moving forward with a backfield of James Conner, Stevan Ridley and Jaylen Samuels.