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Report: Le’Veon Bell not expected to report to the Steelers until after Week 3 of the preseason

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping their All-Pro running back returns, and signs his franchise tag tender, sooner than later, but they might have to wait a while longer for that to happen.

NFL: AFC Championship-Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The day after reports swirled around the NFL how Le’Veon Bell turned down the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 5-year contract after it was agreed upon by his agent, a new report suggests the Steelers’ All-Pro back might not return to the team until after Week 3 in the postseason.

Per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN:

Le'Veon Bell is expected to stay away from the Pittsburgh Steelers for Week 3 of the preseason, a source tells ESPN.

The source would be surprised, however, if Bell isn't back with the Steelers shortly after that, citing his love for football.

There has never been much concern of Bell possibly sitting out regular season games, but just when he would report in the preseason. After all, it is unlikely Bell would pass up on hundreds of thousands of dollars via a game check.

More from Fowler’s report:

One Steelers player privately told ESPN that he expects Bell to return shortly before Labor Day.

One potential good sign for Pittsburgh is that Bell has been in communication with his offensive line via text message.

The fact remains Bell isn’t with the team, while he should be putting the final touches on the offensive plan heading into the regular season. With every passing day, the discussion remains, and the angst among the fan base continues to grow.