Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell‘s holdout this year is officially longer than his holdout last year.
Bell did not attend the Steelers’ team meeting this morning, NFL Network reports. Last year Bell signed his franchise tender on September 1 and attended all of the Steelers’ practices and team meetings in the week before their Week One opener.
Although Bell’s absence this morning doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t play on Sunday against the Browns, he is running out of time. It might be a stretch for him to be ready to play having missed the entire offseason and now missing preparations for Cleveland.
Of course, Bell might be fine with that: He may be calculating that he’ll make more money in free agency next year if he takes less punishment on the field this year. Missing a game, or multiple games, at the start of the season lessens his risk of injury and increases the chance that he’ll be healthy heading into free agency.
So it won’t be surprising if Bell’s holdout continues, at least long enough that he won’t play on Sunday.