Last season, Bell reported in time for Week 1 and played the entire season on a $12.2 million franchise tag. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert wholeheartedly expected Bell to sign a franchise tender and rejoin his 'mates, since he'd broken his pressure tactic under similar circumstances at the beginning of last season.
Bell was a no-show at the team's facility Monday and has a $14.5 million franchise tender waiting for him.
But he does have a hunch - and only that - that the All-Pro running back will arrive in time as the Steelers begin installing their game plan for Sunday's season opener against the Browns in Cleveland.
This shows that Bell's contract tactics have created a distraction for the team as they begin their preparation for the Cleveland Browns this Sunday.
Anyone seeking confirmation on Le'Veon Bell's potential return to the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't get the answers they were seeking from coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday. My focus is on this team and who is here.
Jones had spent the past five seasons on the roster, including three as Ben Roethlisberger's backup, before being let go Saturday.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey told ESPN: "He'll be here Wednesday". Whenever he comes, we'll welcome him with open arms. It's fine. He showed up past year at the same time. I just think where we want to get to, the goals we have in mind, that stuff will be under the rug. The Steelers will use second-year quarterback Joshua Dobbs as the backup, with rookie Mason Rudolph starting the season as the No. 3 quarterback. "I trust James", he said. "We spent a lot of time talking about the growth and development of James Conner, and appropriately so".
"When we look at ourselves, the overall health of our team is pretty good". However, one of the team's best players has yet to show up to the practice field.
Bell, who has averaged almost 130 yards from scrimmage per game since entering the league in 2013, would forfeit $853,000 for every game week he goes unsigned.