The likelihood of Le’Veon Bell even playing this season is growing increasingly bleak.
The Steelers running back is not expected to report in time for Pittsburgh’s Week 10 “Thursday Night Football” tilt with the Carolina Panthers, according to ESPN. That means the chance of him returning at all this season is, well, not high.
“Le’Veon Bell has not had contact with the Pittsburgh Steelers this week, sources tell ESPN,” wrote Adam Schefter and Jeremy Fowler. “And barring an unforeseen development in the next few days, is not expected to report to the team in time for Thursday night’s game against the Panthers, increasing the possibility that the star running back will not play at all this season.
“Bell faces a deadline of Nov. 13 to report in order to play at all this season. Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, Bell must report to the Steelers by 4 p.m. ET next Tuesday or he will be ineligible for the remainder of the season, a source confirmed to ESPN.”
Bell has been one of the most steadfast holdouts we’ve ever seen in the NFL. He was slapped with the franchise tag before the season began and elected not to report, continuing that holdout through, at the very least, Week 9. Though he’s one of the most dynamic backs in the game, the Steelers haven’t been totally hurting, as James Conner regularly has been shredding opposing defenses in Bell’s place.
A vague tweet Monday from Bell elicited plenty of responses wondering if he was headed back to Pittsburgh, but for now that seems unlikely as we enter the 11th hour.