PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers expect Le & # 39; Veon Bell to be introduced to the team next week, President Art Rooney II said on Sirius XM radio on Thursday.
Bell, who has missed 10 weeks without signing his $ 14.5 million franchise tag, must report by Tuesday or miss the 2018 season. By counting the lost weeks, he officially lost $ 8.52 million in profits.
"I do not know what his plans are, but I would say that at this point we expect him to return next week," Rooney said. "We know he's back in Pittsburgh, so we hope to have some communication with him over the weekend, we hope he'll come back next week."
Bell returned to the city this week, and a manager of L.A. Fitness in North Pittsburgh confirmed to ESPN that Bell played basketball at the facility on Tuesday night.
The Steelers' headquarters have been relatively quiet in the absence of Bell, and coach Mike Tomlin said he would prefer to talk about the players who are with the team. But history has become inevitable, since Bell has resisted more time than any NFL player in a franchise tag.
The Steelers are not expected to assign a franchise tag to Bell due to the price of more than $ 20 million associated with a third tag, leaving them with two options after the season: put the transition tag on it or allow it to enter free agency and obtain a compensatory draft selection for his game.
The Steelers could try to apportion a transition tag if Bell plays games this year, and if he stays out all year, the transition tag would have a value of 120 percent of his last salary, which is $ 14.5 million (based in its $ 12.1 million in 2017 earnings).
"We're in unfamiliar territory here in terms of, this really has never happened before, as far as I know," Rooney said. "So, there are questions that we can get to at the end of the season, we'll cross those bridges when we get to them at the end of the season."
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When Bell reports, the Steelers can exercise a two-week staff exemption with the option to withhold payment during that time if Bell is not in the form of a game.
On Wednesday night, Bell posted two messages on his Twitter account in upside down text, saying in part that he "is not apologizing" for his resignation.
"Almost everyone has an opinion about my life and they're worried about what I'm doing," Bell wrote. "… Do not judge me by my decisions because maybe this is not what you would do … but most people do not take the time to simply read between the lines … and that is clear in them … I'm not apologizing for what I think is right for me, my family and the rest of my colleagues, period … also if you're really finding the time to find out what I'm saying, you've tried my point ".
In the absence of Bell, the runner James Conner has produced a total of 1,085 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first eight games of the team.