Le’Veon Bell’s teammates are counting on his contributions throughout the regular season.
Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey told ESPN on Monday he expects the superstar running back to end his holdout and play in the team’s regular-season opener. Bell, who wants a long-term contract, sat out training camp and preseason amid his ongoing refusal to play under the franchise tag for a second consecutive season. However, Pouncey believes Bell’s 2018 return will follow a similar timeline as last season’s, when he joined the team days before its first game.
“He’ll be here Wednesday,” Pouncey said. “Count on it.”
The Steelers organization announced its disappointment with Bell on Monday, but Pouncey said the players understand why the All-Pro running back is holding out and expect him to deliver another superb season.
“Whenever he comes, we’ll welcome him with open arms,” Pouncey said. “He’s a great player and a great teammate. We know the business side of it. You see Khalil Mack? You ever think the Raiders would let him go?”
“Last year (Bell) didn’t need any (practices) and was best in the league. It’s fine. He showed up last year at the same time. Totally fine, trust me.”
The Steelers will visit the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in Week 1. Steelers fans might be nervous about Bell’s status, but his teammates don’t seam to be fretting over it.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images