Le’Veon Bell still remains absent as the Pittsburgh Steelers returned from their bye week.
Weeks after reports stated that Bell would come back after the team’s bye, he is nowhere to be found. That is not great news for Bell fantasy owners, but the Steelers themselves are putting a calm face on things.
Now, it sounds like the trade deadline might be the point at which the Steelers can expect Le’Veon Bell back.
There are some sources around the league who believe that because Bell does not want to be traded, he will wait until after the NFL’s Oct. 30 trade deadline to return to work.
The Steelers could not trade Bell until he signs his franchise tender, and if he waits to sign the tender after the deadline, Pittsburgh could not deal him.
That would mean one more missed game—Sunday’s date with the Cleveland Browns—before his return.
Bell must return by Nov. 13, ahead of Week 11, in order to hit free agency this off-season.
ESPN‘s Jeremy Fowler spoke to members of the team about the latest Bell news, and they insist that it isn’t a concern, as his replacement James Conner has thrived.
Center Maurkice Pouncey said nothing surprises him with the now-two-month storyline.
“I’m enjoying the ride just like you guys. I want to see how it plays out,” Pouncey said. “I’m waiting to see just like everyone else. No bets are out there, trust me. I think we’re just enjoying the process, see how it plays out, and hopefully the best for him.”
Pouncey was hesitant when asked if the team was now “used to” playing without Bell, though.
“I don’t wanna say that — ’cause he’s been a great player, he’s done a lot of great things — but it’s always the next man up, man,” Pouncey said. “We always live by that code here, being a Steeler; and (Conner)’s doing a great job with it. He’s excelling at a high rate, and guys on the team are loving it.”
After multiple members of the team ripped Bell ahead of Week 1, they are all taking a different tact in late October. Pouncey and fellow offensive lineman Ramon Foster were among those who wished their absent teammate well.