Steelers officially throwing all the pressure on Le'Veon Bell

Steelers officially throwing all the pressure on Le'Veon Bell

"James", the Steelers coach said Tuesday.

Bell is yet to sign his $14.54m franchise-tag for this season with him standing to lose money, around $853,000, for every game he misses.

On that note, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offered an observation (however obvious) the Steelers are preparing to start James Conner in Bell's place on Sunday.

Conner tweaked his hamstring on the first day of rookie minicamp shortly after being selected and only showed flashes of the player who ran for 3,733 yards and found the end zone 56 times for the Panthers.

Bell did not arrive at the team's facility in time for practice Monday and has yet to sign his one-year franchise tender, leaving his status for Sunday's visit to the Browns in doubt.

When asked directly about Bell, guard Ramon Foster pivoted to Conner. "I'm going to be disappointed, but obviously, I would love to have him here".

Center Maurkice Pouncey has suggested Wednesday will be the day Bell reports and signs his franchise tender, but head coach Mike Tomlin was indifferent to that possibility.

Conner saw little action a year ago as a rookie, with 32 carries for 144 yards in 14 games before a torn MCL ended his season.

"[He's gone from] being a rookie that missed a lot of time due to soft tissue injuries and lack of general readiness, to a guy that's done the things that we've outlined several minutes in here", Tomlin said.

Tomlin said he hasn't communicated with his star running back this week, and he was vague on expectations for Bell's arrival.

Tomlin also said the decision to terminate the contract of veteran backup quarterback Landry Jones was "difficult". Right now, we are singularly focused on the guys who are here working and have been here working and building a plan around variables that we know. "That's the appropriate thing". But he got some props for his work during the offseason, advancing the idea he could eventually replace Bell as the Steelers' lead back. "That's the appropriate thing".

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