Steelers preparing for life without Le’Veon Bell

Steelers RB Bell a no-show as opener vs. Browns looms

On Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers running back was a no-show from the first day of regular season preparations and general manager Kevin Colbert was so pissed about it, he had to release a statement about it to the media.

Or maybe Bell will skip a week to send one last message about his frustration over not being able to sign a long-term deal during the offseason.

Bell remains away from the team while deciding when to sign his $14.54 million franchise tender. It will be interesting to see how Bell's situation plays out, though, as it's no secret he's unhappy with his contract.

"When he gets here, that's when we'll start quantifying Le'Veon Bell-related things", Tomlin said Tuesday. Whether the frustration stems from Pittsburgh not signing Bell or Bell not being willing to show up yet on the franchise tag, both schools of thought have merit.

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But all things being equal, the team's best running back is Bell, and so Tomlin fielded more questions on this issue, and this is where his one-word answers took over.

If Bell isn't ready, the Steelers will turn to James Conner against Cleveland. "I trust James", he said. The former Pitt star made significant strides during training camp. When asked why, Tomlin simply replied "James". "We put him in the backseat, strap him in and be ready to go". And don't forget about running back Joe Mixon, who could be a breakout player in his second year after tallying 913 rushing yards in 2017.

Last year, Conner rushed for 144 yards on 32 carries before a Week 15 knee injury ended his season. While that likely won't be the case in Taylor's first year with his new team, he certainly could help get the Browns headed in that direction. Despite the Bell drama and a lack of depth at the linebacker position, its offense still is elite with Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster at wide receiver and Roethlisberger under center. With him coming off an impressive preseason and showing flashes in limited work to this point in his young career, they could be worse off.

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