Le’Veon Bell was a no-show once again Monday for the Steelers, and there’s a growing sense among NFL analysts he won’t report until after the Oct. 30 trade deadline.
Bell won’t return to the team this week, according to a report from NFL Media, which cites an unidentified team source. The three-time Pro Bowl running back had been expected to return during the team’s Week 7 bye week.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 22, 2018
If Bell doesn’t show this week, he would miss his seventh game of the season Sunday when the Steelers host the Browns. And although he’s been working out and told ESPN earlier this month he’s in excellent shape and could play “tomorrow,” it’s doubtful the team would play him without a full week or more of practice.
Steelers owner Art Rooney II told NFL Network Sunday the team had no plans to trade Bell.
“I expect him to be a member of the team going forward,” Rooney said. “That’s my expectation.”
Bell will have to end his holdout before Week 10 in order to accrue an NFL season, which would make him eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2018 season.
In the meantime, look for James Conner to continue to shine in Bell’s absence. The second-year back is on pace for more than 1,800 total yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns, similar to the numbers Bell has put up in recent years.