Steelers' linemen turn on Le'Veon Bell


All-Pro centre Maurkice Pouncey says he'd at least like for Bell to let his teammates know when they can expect him back, no matter when that might be. For the guys that block for him up front, that's kinda disheartening a little bit.

Bell is scheduled to make $14.5 million over 16 games under the franchise tag in 2018.

"We'll move on as a team", Pouncey said on Wednesday.

If Bell doesn't report to the team and sign his franchise tag by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, then $852,941 will be rolled back into the Steelers' salary cap every week until he does, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. The team appeared hopeful he would report this week - as he did previous year to end his holdout when Week 1 began - but with Sunday's opener against the Browns looming, his support appears to be losing steam. This is a departure from what Bell's agent said in July, when he told Sirius XM NFL Radio that "barring something exceptional", Bell would join the Steelers around Labor Day. Rookie Jaylen Samuels and veteran Stevan Ridley hold the other two spots at running back.

Usually players understand the business side to contract negotiations and side with their teammates in these disputes, yet the Steelers locker room has been very vocal about their displeasure with Bell's stance. He went on to say that Bell would arrive when he arrives. "At this point, it's cool, Conner's ready, he's been here busting his butt". We'd like [Bell] out there, but we've got guys who can make plays for us.

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Pouncey was asked if Bell would be welcomed back, assuming he eventually reports. "We are not going to discuss any conversations through the media", Lauten said.

"Obviously, it's Le'Veon over the Steelers".

The message from Pouncey and Foster was clear: Missing the preseason is one thing, missing regular-season games is another. "Now, when it's game time and you know that you have $14 million looming out there and you're still not here and your team really wants you here; at this point, we got Conner".

While I am inclined not to draft Bell given he still has an ADP of No. 2, I am looking to get James Conner if the price is right. They weren't even initially disappointed when he wasn't at Wednesday's first day of practice in preparation for Sunday's opener against the Browns.