The Pittsburgh Steelers are anticipating Le'veon Bell returning to the team ahead of next week's deadline for franchise tagged players.
Steelers owner Art Rooney II said "I do not know what he plans to do, but I would say he will come back next week." on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Thursday, "We know he's back in Pittsburgh and we're hoping to have some communications with him over the weekend and he'll be back next week."
Bell has not said or even he's willing to sign his franchise tender or accept a one-year deal with the Steelers ahead of Tuesday's deadline to retain his eligibility for this season.
Bell's absence from the team, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday the Steelers want the prolific running back to return. Bell is back in Pittsburgh after saying Farewell on Monday to Miami, where he's been training during his self-imposed exile.
Bell's situation in 2019. The Steelers could franchise tag Bell. Roots said he was not sure what the interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement should be for a third time in 2019, but he would be tagged at the quarterback salary number, not the lower number he was tagged for this year, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Rooney said the team will eventually address that issue.
"We're in uncharted territory here that has never really happened, as far as I know," Rooney said about Bell's situation. "There are questions that we can get to the end of the season, but we'll cross those bridges when we get to them at the end of the season."
For now, the Steelers are on Bell watch like the rest of the NFL world.