Bell told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that he will return to the Steelers during the team’s bye in Week Seven. He expects to be ready to play in time for Pittsburgh Week Eight against the Cleveland Browns. Of course, he will have to sign his franchise tender in order to return to the team and be able to play.
Bell said he hasn’t played for the Steelers thus far because he didn’t want to put another high volume workload season on his body before he has a chance to reach free agency after this season.
“It sucks having to sit out football,” Bell said. “I want to play. I want to win games and the playoffs.
“But I’ve gotta take this stand. Knowing my worth and knowing I can tear a ligament or get surgery at any time, I knew I couldn’t play 16 games with 400 or more touches.”
Bell has averaged 27-28 touches per game he’s played over the last two seasons. His 406 rushes and receptions last season was a career high.
Bell hopes his future remains with the Steelers and noted he wants to ultimately retire as a member of the franchise. However, he still wants a contract to represent his value sufficiently and believes the guaranteed money he seeks will be readily available next March when he becomes a free agent.
“I know the guaranteed money will be there (in March),” Bell said. “If a team wanted to, they could definitely do what they needed to do to make me happy and satisfied.”