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Owner Art Rooney weighs in on Le’Veon Bell's training camp absence and Steelers' future

GiveMeSport | Updated: 2018-08-14 19:56:48

Le'Veon Bell will stay away from the Pittsburgh Steelers' training camp for the second straight season after once again failing to come to an agreement over a new deal with the franchise.

If and when Bell returns, he'll sign his $14.5 million franchise tender and play for the Steelers under the tag in 2018 before either trying to agree to a new deal with the team again next offseason or hit free agency.

Steelers owner Art Rooney spoke to the media about the current contract situation with Bell and whether or not his physical or mental state heading will be affected as he enters what could be his final year with the franchise.

Rooney said to NFL Network's Judy Battista on Inside Training Camp Live on Saturday, per Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com: “We went through this last year and when Le’Veon got here, his commitment to the team is as good as ever so expect the same thing when he gets here this year.

"Of course, I hope he gets here a little earlier; we’ll see.

“Le’Veon is a professional. We’re disappointed we weren’t able to come to an agreement but that’s the business side of football.

"Respect his position, no hard feelings. We just like to get him here as quickly as we can and get him started.”

Unsure on 2019 return

When Rooney was asked if Bell would be back in the black and yellow for the 2019 season, the Steelers couldn't say for sure.

He said: "I'm not going to say that. We'll revisit his contract after the season. Who knows? There's a lot of miles to travel between now and then and hopefully a lot of good miles on the football field for Le'Veon."

This goes against the opinion of Bell's agent, Adisa Bakari, who said a few weeks ago that "the most likely scenario is that '18 will be [Bell's] last season in the black and gold."

There have been reports as well that the running back could potentially sit out regular season games for the Steelers in order to limit his workload. This in turn would help him achieve a better deal in free agency, but Rooney doesn't believe Bell will do this.

We do know one thing, Bell's payday is not too far away. Whether or not it will be with the Steelers though remains to be seen.

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