With the final deadline for Le’Veon Bell to report to the Pittsburgh Steelers just a few hours away, it was perhaps unsurprising to note how much of Mike Tomlin’s press conference was dominated by questions about his absentee running back. However, those hoping that Tomlin would have some news to share might be disappointing to note he had no new insights to offer when talking to reporters on Tuesday.
After confirming that no one in the organization had heard from Bell over the weekend, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the running back will not be at team facilities ahead of the deadline, if it wasn't already clear enough for the hopelessly optimistic among us. Asked about his reaction to the prospect of Bell missing the entire season, Tomlin was matter-of-fact in his response.
“I have no reaction. I’ve told you guys and I’ve told you guys consistently, a reaction comes from me if and when he walks in the door. Until that happens, I’m business as usual, focused on those that are here and working, and appropriately so, that way I don’t waste my time and theirs.”
When asked a follow questions of “What if he never walks through the door”, Tomlin offered a rather blunt reply.
“So be it.”
If Tomlin feels personally let down by Bell, that will never be something he discusses with the media, no matter how much they try to pry. Acknowledging the realities of business in the NFL, Tomlin is perhaps more understanding of Bell’s situation than many fans.
“I understand that business is an element of the game of football. There are elements of the game, relationships within the game, football related relationships that we all hold near and dear and understand. And then, football at this level, there is also the business element. Even when we don’t understand it, we’re sensitive to it, so we’re not shocked when things happen from a business standpoint.”
When asked about his expectations for Tuesday, Tomlin laughed at the question.
“I don’t know that I have any expectation. I don’t know that I’ve ever had any expectation because that’s just a waste of my time.”
With the final deadline to report set to pass at 4 p.m Tuesday 13, the Steelers coach is well aware that this cutoff will not put an end to the media’s endless line of questioning, even if Bell does not arrive.
“I’m sure that you guys will find a reason to bring it up and continue to rehash it in some form or fashion, even after today.”
For my part, I can assure readers I will be keeping my posts about Le’Veon Bell to a minimum once this day is finally over.