Steelers preparing for life without Le’Veon Bell

Steelers preparing for life without Le’Veon Bell

The Pittsburgh Steelers were expecting Le'Veon Bell to return for the team's Labor Day practice after witnessing him hold out for all of the preseason.

Last year, when Bell played under the franchise tag, he reported to the Steelers on Labour Day and suited up in Week 1.

Last season, Bell took his physical September 1 and showed up for practice September 4, the Monday before the season opener, before playing a full year on a $12.12 million franchise tag.

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. Could be a week, as it was a year ago. Now, we're just singularly focused on the guys that are here working and have been here working and kind of building a plan around variables that we know.

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That would be James Conner, whose impressive preseason might just earn him serious playing time Sunday at Cleveland regardless of what happens with Bell.

Cleveland's practice squad is now complete, at least for the first week of the National Football League season. When asked why, Tomlin simply replied "James". "Being a rookie who missed a lot of time due to soft tissue injuries and lack of general readiness to a guy who's done the things that we outlined".

The 26-year-old had showcased that in the 2017 campaign where he finished third with 1,291 rushing yards and nine touchdowns along with a career-high 85 receptions for 655 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns. If he doesn't show up, former Pitt star James Conner will become the feature back.

That either means he will be there the next time the team hits the field Wednesday or they took the opportunity to start figuring out how they will approach the soon-to-be distraction. Conner has also drawn raves for his improvement as a receiver out of the backfield - a weakness last summer - and his work in pass protection.

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