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Steelers' Tomlin has not talked to Bell about return

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Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin watches from the sidelines during a game against the Baltimore Ravens on September 30. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

By The Sports Xchange

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday that he has little to say on the potential return of running back Le'Veon Bell.

"I have not talked to Le'Veon and I really have no Le'Veon update," Tomlin said. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Nothing has changed from my perspective in that regard."

Tomlin's comments come one day after ESPN's Jeremy Fowler cited a source as saying that Bell plans to return between Weeks 7 and 8. The Steelers are on their bye in Week 7 before hosting the Cleveland Browns in Week 8 on Oct. 28.

"It (stinks) having to sit out football," Bell told ESPN. "I want to play. I want to win games and the playoffs.

"But I've gotta take this stand. Knowing my worth and knowing I can tear a ligament or get surgery at any time, I knew I couldn't play 16 games with 400 or more touches."

James Conner, the replacement for Bell, had a monstrous season debut with 135 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 31 carries in a season-opening 21-21 tie at Cleveland.

However, Conner was limited to 78 yards rushing on 23 carries in his next two games. The 23-year-old also had five receptions in each of the first three contests.

The Steelers rushed for 19 yards during a 26-14 setback to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night. Ben Roethlisberger was limited to just 50 passing yards in the second half of that contest.

Pittsburgh has been exploring trading options for Bell and has been asking a steep price, notably at least a second-round draft pick in addition to another a "good" player, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday.

For Bell to be traded, he would have to sign his $14.54 million franchise tender. That move must be done since the Steelers can not trade him until the tender he is currently under contract.

If Bell isn't moved before the Oct. 30 trade deadline, the 26-year-old has until Nov. 13 to sign his tender in order to accrue a season toward free agency. Bell has forfeited more than $3.4 million in salary by missing the first four games of the season.

Bell struggled out of the blocks in 2017 before finishing the season with 1,291 rushing yards and 85 receptions for 655 yards. Bell was selected to the Pro Bowl for the third time and was named All-Pro for the second time.

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