When will Le'Veon Bell report to the Steelers? One teammate has a theory

The Le'Veon Bell situation in Pittsburgh took a twist on Monday when the Steelers running back didn't show up for practice. 

Although the team expected Bell to skip training camp after he didn't get the long-term contract he wanted in July, the Steelers were blindsided when Bell decided to skip the team's first practice of Week 1 on Monday. For most of the summer, Bell had given every indication that he was going to show up on Labor Day, just like he did last year

With just five days to go until the Steelers kick off their regular season in Cleveland, Bell is running out of time to report if he wants to play in Week 1. 

So is Bell going to show up this week or is he going to make some sort of statement by skipping the Steelers first game of the season?

Although no one seems to know the answer to that question, Maurkice Pouncey does have a theory on how this is all going to play out.  

"He'll be here Wednesday," Pouncey said Monday, via NFL Network. "Count on it,"

Despite what Pouncey said, you might not want to completely "count" on that information and that's because he admitted that he was totally guessing on the date and that he hasn't actually talked to Bell about it.  

"No, but if I know Le'Veon, he'll be here then," Pouncey said. 

No matter when Bell shows up, there's not going to be any ill-will toward from anyone on the roster, according to Pouncey. 

"Whenever he comes, we'll welcome him with open arms," Pouncey said, via ESPN.com. "He's a great player and a great teammate. We know the business side of it. You see Khalil Mack? You ever think the Raiders would let him go?"

Comparing Bell to a star player from another team who got traded for holding out probably isn't the best comparison unless you're trying to send Steelers fans and fantasy owners into a panic. Anyway, although the team said it was disappointed that Bell didn't report on Monday, no one on the roster seems to be too concerned. 

"Last year [Bell] didn't need any [practices] and was best in the league," Pouncey said. "It's fine. He showed up last year at the same time. Totally fine, trust me."

Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward insisted that the Bell situation won't be a distraction to the team, no matter how it plays out. 

"My focus is on this team and who is here," Heyward said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "When Le'Veon gets here, he gets here. But until then, let's ride. It won't be a distraction. We're seasoned for that, I think. I just think where we want to get to, the goals we have in mind, that stuff will be under the rug. If he comes on this journey, he comes on this journey. We put him in the backseat, strap him in and be ready to go."

One person who's definitely planning for Bell to play in Week 1 is Browns' coach Hue Jackson. The Browns opened against the Steelers in 2017, so Jackson watched this whole thing play out last year. 

"I plan on him being there," Jackson said. "We are playing a really good Steelers offense, a really good Steelers team. He is one of those 'B brothers [With Antonio Brown].' At the end of the day, I anticipate him being there."

Despite Jackson's optimism, there's no guarantee that Bell is going to show up this week. The running back has already threatened once to sit out several games and ESPN.com reported in July that he might be willing to sit out half the season to prove a point.  

Under NFL rules, Bell has until Nov. 13 to sign his franchise deal, which means he could legally sit out for 10 weeks and there's nothing the Steelers could do about it. Of course, if Bell goes that route, it will cost him some serious money. The Steelers running back would lose out on roughly $853,000 per week for any week he sits out, which means he'd have to be willing to lose roughly $8.53 million in salary if he's going to sit out the full 10 weeks.

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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