Last year Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell didn’t sign his franchise tag and report to the team until training camp and the preseason were over. This year coach Mike Tomlin hopes that’s not the case.
Tomlin told CBS Sports that he would like to see Bell in camp, and in better shape, than last year.
“I’m hopeful that he’ll get to us sooner. I’m hopeful that he’ll be in better condition even than he was a year ago,” Tomlin said.
It’s hard to see any reason Bell would have for reporting earlier this year than last year. Bell wanted a long-term contract, and when he and the Steelers failed to agree on one before the deadline for franchise players to sign, it seemed a near-certainty that Bell would wait until just before the start of the regular season to report.
As for reporting in better shape, last year Bell did get off to a somewhat slow start, carrying just 10 times for 32 yards and adding three catches for 15 yards in Week One. But he had a strong season, and he’ll be motivated to have another strong season in a contract year, so he’s likely going to show up in good shape. Even if he’s not there until the preseason is over.