Adam Schefter reports that Steelers franchise RB Le’Veon Bell will report back to the team before the start of the 2017 regular season. However, it remains to be seen exactly when Bell will rejoin the Steelers.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert recently mentioned that he still expects a big year from Bell despite him missing training camp due to a contract dispute.
“I fully expect Le’Veon Bell to be a significant contributor for the 2017 Steelers. That’s as simple as I can state it,” said Colbert, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
When asked about Bell’s ability to remain healthy, Colbert said he believes training camp is beneficial when preparing for the regular season.
“I’ll argue that consistently,” Colbert said. “Training camp is important for the growth and preparedness to be ready to play this game opening week. We can argue about camp and preseason, how many games and all that, but I do know you need to practice this game to play it at the highest level. Someone once said it would be like boxing without sparring. You can’t just show up and play.”
The deadline to negotiate a long-term deal came and went without the two sides agreeing to anything, which means Bell will once again be in position to test the open market next year.
Reports did, however, surface shortly after the deadline that Bell turned down a five-year contract worth over $60 million with $30 million being paid out in the first two years of the agreement.
The Steelers have said that they plan to pick up contract talks with Bell next year.
Bell, 25, is a former second-round pick of the Steelers back in 2013. He played out the final year of his four-year, $4,120,600 rookie contract that included a $1,376,800 signing bonus and was in position to be one of the best players in this year’s free agent market.
In 2016, Bell appeared in 12 games and running for 1,268 yards on 261 carries (4.9 YPC) to go along with 75 receptions for 616 yards receiving and three nine total touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 1 running back out of 62 qualifying players.