PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell did not report as the team began their first practice of the regular season.
The Steelers took the field at 10:45 a.m. and Le’Veon was noticeably absent.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert issued a statement about Bell saying:
“We are disappointed Le’Veon Bell has not signed his franchise tender and rejoined his teammates. Coach Tomlin and the coaching staff will continue to focus on preparing the players on our roster for our regular season opener on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
Bell skipped all of training camp and did not show up to practice at all on Monday.
Bell has not signed his $14.5 million franchise tender and cannot play until he does so.
He can still show up at any point and sign the tag, but he can also, by collective bargaining agreement, skip the first nine weeks of the season, show up for week 10 and still count that as a full year of service. He would, however, leave $8.5 million on the table.
Until Bell shows up, James Conner gets the first team snaps.
Last year, when Bell also played on the franchise tag, he reported on Labor Day, practiced four times and then played in the season opener in Cleveland.
The Steelers open this season Sept. 9 in Cleveland.