Steelers star Le’Veon Bell to sit out full season

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Le'Veon Bell ain't playing for the Steelers this year. and maybe never again - 'cause the All-Pro RB just missed the deadline to report to the team. The flip side is that Bell won't enter free agency with an injury.

Bell, a two-time All-Pro, was scheduled to make $14.4 million this year under the terms of the franchise tag, but he's already forfeited $8.5 million.

All season Tomlin stressed he was focused on the players in the locker room and not the ones outside it and hardly seems bothered by Pittsburgh's quest for a post-season berth without the talented 26-year-old Bell.

A few hours before the deadline, head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Tuesday that Bell hadn't returned a text message or phone call from him.

Le'Veon Bell is calling it a season. If he signed a lucrative deal elsewhere, the Steelers would receive a midround compensatory draft pick. Instead, Bell made good on a threat he made almost 11 months ago, when he said he would consider sitting out the season if the team kept him from free agency via a second franchise tag. He also leads the league with eight runs of 20-plus yards.

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Tomlin said he expects Conner to be cleared from the concussion protocol by Wednesday, allowing him to play at the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. His teammates stressed it was no big deal, confident Bell would show up in time for the regular-season opener. Guard Ramon Foster and center Maurkice Pouncey both labeled the move selfish.

Bell, who will turn 27 in February, had been training in South Florida and in July tweeted this season would be his "best to date".

The makeover relied heavily on Bell, whose patient running style became his trademark while helping Pittsburgh to four straight playoff berths.

Up until late last week, the Steelers were bracing for the return of Bell, who played basketball at a local LA Fitness last week. By not showing up, Bell has officially walked away from all of that money.

"I don't know what his plans are, but I would say that at this point, we expect him to come back next week", team president Art Rooney II told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Thursday.

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