Camp holdout Le'Veon Bell reportedly might not join the Steelers until September

It's been exactly three weeks since the Steelers reported for training camp back on July 27 and running back Le'Veon Bell still hasn't shown up, and that's not even the bad news for the Steelers. 

The bad news is that Bell might not be showing up anytime soon. According to ESPN, Bell is definitely planning to show up before the regular season starts, but it's still "unclear" when he might report. 

That means Bell could conceivably show up to Pittsburgh as late as Sept. 9, in time to sign his one-year franchise tender and then briefly prepare for the Steelers' Sept. 10 opener against the Browns

There's also a chance that Bell could show up to Pittsburgh in time for this week's preseason game against the Falcons, but that seems highly unlikely based on recent comments from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert.   

Last week, Tomlin admitted that he wasn't feeling to too optimistic about the situation with Bell. 

"I'm not comfortable. I think it would be naïve to be comfortable," Tomlin said on Aug. 11, via the Steelers' official website. "If somebody is not here working and developing in the formal ways that we subscribe, then there are potential consequences for that. Consequences for him individually. There are consequences for us collectively. So, no I'm not (comfortable)."

As for Colbert, the Steelers general manager said this week that he'd like to see everyone on the roster report to camp. 

"It's beneficial for everybody to be in camp," Colbert said. "I'll argue that consistently. Training camp is important for the growth and preparedness to be ready to play this game opening week."

If Bell doesn't report by Saturday, and there's no indication that he's going to, that means he'll have missed out on every training camp practice the Steelers will have held this year. Even if Bell does end up missing all of training camp, Colbert would still like to see him on the field at least once during the preseason before the Steelers' opener against Cleveland. 

"We can argue about camp and preseason, how many games and all that, but I do know you need to practice this game to play it at the highest level," Colbert said. "Someone once said it would be like boxing without sparring. You can't just show up and play."

If I were Bell, I'd show up next week so I could play in at least one preseason game. The third week of the preseason is generally considered the most important week, because that's when starters play the longest. The Steelers will be hosting the Colts in Week 3 of the preseason (Aug. 26), which means Bell would likely have to report by Tuesday if he wants to get on the field against Indy. 

On the other hand, he could just avoid the preseason altogether and not report at all until September. The upside in all of this for Bell is that the Steelers can't fine him for missing training camp. Since Bell hasn't signed his one-year franchise tender, that means he's not technically not an employee of the team, which means the Steelers can't fine him. 

Bell, who will make $12.1 million as the Steelers' franchise player this season, didn't report to camp because he was unhappy about the fact that he didn't get a long-term deal done with the team before the July 17 deadline given to all franchise players. 

Apparently, he was looking for a substantial raise that the Steelers weren't willing to give him. Bell recently told former Steelers teammate Ike Taylor that he was seeking a deal worth roughly $15 million per season. According to Taylor, Bell wants to be paid as a No. 1 running back and a No. 2 wide receiver. 

Although Bell is expected to report in time for Week 1, if things go south and he doesn't show, the running back can report as late as Week 10 of the regular season and still be eligible to play.

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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