The stalemate between Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers could end next week, the team’s owner said Thursday night.
Art Rooney II, in comments made on SiriusXM NFL Radio, said the team knows their star running back is in Pittsburgh.
“I don't know what his plans are, but I would say at this point we expect him to come back next week,” Rooney said. “We know he's back in Pittsburgh and so we're hoping to have some communications with him over the weekend and we're kind of expecting he will be back next week.”
Bell hasn’t reported to the team this season after contract talks broke down for the second year in a row and the Steelers offered him the franchise tender. Speculation has been rampant about when he would report, if at all, as he eyes free agency next year.
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Bell and his agent have said they want to change the power paradigm between players and teams while also resetting the market for running backs, saying Bell’s unique skill set and unprecedented production deserve a landmark contract.
Rooney said the team would welcome him back if he returns, but isn’t sure what will happen after the season, given Bell’s holdout and how it could affect his status in terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
“We're in uncharted territory here in terms that this has never really happened, as far as I know,” Rooney said. “There are questions that we may get to at the end of the season, but we'll cross those bridges when we get to them at the end of the season.”
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