Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers are in a standoff, and neither side plans on blinking.
The Steelers are operating as if their All-Pro running back will miss the first four to six weeks of the season as he continues his holdout, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported Sunday, citing league sources.
Bell and his agent, Adisa Bakari, haven’t given Pittsburgh any indication about when he’ll return, per La Canfora.
It appears a trade is out of the question, too: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday morning the Steelers are “not even considering” finding a trade partner for Bell.
Schefter gave a bit more optimistic timeline on Bell’s return, noting that some folks around the league believe he’ll be back with the team before the end of September.
In any case, Bell’s contract issue appears no closer to being resolved. The 26-year-old still hasn’t signed his $14.5 million franchise tag for the 2018 season — much to his teammates’ disappointment — and didn’t travel with the Steelers to Cleveland for their Week 1 matchup with the Browns.
Based on Sunday’s reports, it sounds like Bell will miss at least the next two games, if not more.
That’s obviously bad news for Pittsburgh (and Bell fantasy owners), as Bell led the AFC in total yards from scrimmage (1,946) last season and is the focal point of that offense. Backup running back James Conner is expected to start against the Browns on Sunday and could play a significant role if Bell continues to miss time.
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