Steelers Training Camp Starts Today: So when can we expect Bell to show up?

With Terrell Edmunds signing a contract on July 24th, all of the rookies are set to enter their first Steeler training camp at Saint Vincent College, on time. College is nothing new to this set of rookies, as they look to move back into the dorms to get a fresh start with their new team.

One player who will not be joining the campus festivities: Le’Veon Bell.

So the question becomes, how long is he going to be away from the team?

Keep in mind, that Bell is not holding out. He is not even under contract with the Steelers. The Steelers designated Bell as a Franchise player, however, Bell has chosen not to sign his contract, yet. So not being under contract means: He can not be fined or punished for missing time. The same scenario unfolded last year when the Steelers franchised Bell. He used that time to train on his own and enter the season healthy and refreshed.

Last year, Bell signed his contract on September 4th, ensuring that he didn’t have to play any preseason football. This date is significant, since it is the Monday before the Steeler’s season opener. It gave Bell a full week to learn the game plan and get ready to play meaningful football. Though he appeared to start slow last season, the Steelers still jumped out to a 3-1 record with Bell starting as the every down running back.

The biggest benefit to missing training camp reps would be his health. Bell finished the entire season without an injury, only sitting out the last week of the season, when their playoff seeding was already locked into the #2 slot. It is saying a lot that Bell finished the season healthy, since he had more snaps than any other running back in the league. That many touches usually wears down running backs by season’s end, but Bell was still running strong. Perhaps missing the preseason aided in keeping him healthy?

So if last year’s trend continues, we should expect Bell to be back with the team on September 3rd, 2018, which falls on a Monday. The Monday before the Steelers’ first meaningful game.

If history repeats itself, it will be most meaningful to have Bell healthy at the season’s end. Hopefully preparing for a playoff game!

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