Unlike players who are under contract, the Steelers can’t fine running back Le’Veon Bell $40,000 a day.
But coach Mike Tomlin suggested there’s still some price to pay.
Via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers coach used the words “consequences” when talking about his star running back’s contract-related absence.
“There is no question we are a group that values the team-building process,” Tomlin said. “And doing it in this setting, so yes, there is value, and yes, there are consequences for not being here. That’s the reality of it.”
Asked to specify what those consequences might be, Tomlin said: “They’re untold as we sit here.”
If the Steelers wanted to take the nuclear option, they could always pull the $12.1 million franchise tag. But that would make the central component of their offense a free agent immediately, so they obviously would be hesitant to do that.
But since he’s not signed, he can’t be fined. He also skipped all the voluntary work throughout the spring, and they didn’t necessarily expect him.
That doesn’t mean they don’t want him sooner rather than later.
“Obviously I would like for him to be here,” Tomlin said. “He is not. I am going to focus my energies on the guys who are. It’s an unfortunate circumstance, one that we’ll deal with, one that he’ll deal with. I’ve had good clean communication with him. I’ll keep the nature of that conversation between us. Rest assured he’ll be ready to play football. When he gets here, he gets here.”
Other players have also begun to prod Bell, but if the Steelers want him there, they can always prove their feelings toward Bell financially.