After missing every minute of training camp and four preseason games, Le'Veon Bell finally returned to Pittsburgh on Monday to sign his $12.1 million franchise tender and rejoin his teammates. That means that the league's most dynamic running back is playing on a one-year deal.

It didn't have to be that way; the Steelers reportedly offered Bell a deal that averaged $12 million annually -- that would make him the NFL's highest-paid back by some $3.5 million a year -- with $30 million in the first two years and $42 million in the first three.

Bell didn't sign.

"The running back market definitely took a hit, and I can't be the guy who continues to let it take a hit," Bell said in July when the two sides couldn't agree to terms on a new long-term deal. "We do everything. We block, we run, we catch the ball. Our value isn't where it needs to be. I'm taking it upon myself to open up some eyes and show the position is more valuable."

But Bell didn't spend August on the couch to protest the long-term contract he didn't get but felt he deserved. Instead, he stayed home for one simple reason: his health.

"I wanted to make sure I was prepared and fresh for the season," he said, via ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler. "I don't want to go out there and jeopardize myself getting hurt in camp. Obviously I understand I'm on a one-year deal, so I have to go out there and prepare and play football. ... My rookie year I got hurt in camp, so I didn't even want to deal with it. I wanted to get ready for Game 1, the games that count and go out there and try to win a Super Bowl."

"Football is more than just a sport," Bell continued. "There's a business behind it." 

He's right, which is why teammate Antonio Brown said he supports Bell's decision to show up in September.

"He's a businessman. I respect you've got to make decisions that are right for his family," Brown explained. "My opinion is just my opinion. He's a mature individual, professional player and I know he's going to do what's right for him."

The Steelers face the Browns on Sunday in the season opener. It's unclear how much work Bell will get, which means we could see contributions from rookie third-round pick James Conner and 2015 undrafted free agent Terrell Watson, who has nine career carries.