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Le'Veon Bell disappointed teammates talked contract

Le'Veon Bell's continued absence from the Steelers has been one of the defining characteristics of the young 2018 NFL season -- a situation exacerbated by criticism he received from his Steelers teammates last week.

NFL Network's Maurice Jones-Drew recently spoke to Bell about the situation and relayed what the running back told him while appearing on the Dave Dameshek Football Program this week.

"[Bell] said to me 'people think that I don't like Pittsburgh, I don't like James Conner, I don't like these guys,'" Jones-Drew said. "He was like yes, I was disappointed they went out and spoke about my contract, understandably so. He was like, but I still want them to do well, they're still guys that I work with and guys that I've put in this extra work with -- blood, sweat and tears like I still want them to do well.

Jones-Drew continued: "[Bell] was happy for James Conner after that performance but that performance justifies why he's not there right now. If you're going to give James Conner 31 carries, imagine how many you'd give to Le'Veon Bell?"

The Pro Bowl running back has yet to report to sign his $14.54 million franchise tag tender. Bell would have to report by Week 10 to earn an accrued year toward free agency and hit the open market in 2019. Neither Bell or his agent, Adisa Bakari, have revealed what the plan is moving forward.

With Bell defying expectations that he would report to the Steelers prior to their season opener, it's anyone's guess when we might see the dynamic playmaker back on the field.

For Bell, it seems to be a decision rooted purely in the business aspect of the game -- something he doesn't want his teammates to take personally even if it hurts the their chances at a playoff run in January.

When Bell does decided to return, Steelers guard Ramon Fostersays the team will welcome him back.

"Of course, absolutely," said Foster, who criticized Bell last week. "It wasn't a question about us welcoming him or not welcoming him, it was about what was going to go on."

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