Bell, who wants a long-term contract, sat out training camp and preseason amid his ongoing refusal to play under the franchise tag for a second consecutive season.
"When he gets here, that's when we'll start quantifying all Le'Veon Bell related things, his overall readiness, the amount of time that we have between his arrival and our next competition", Tomlin said, adding he has not been in communication with Bell this week. "Coach Tomlin and the coaching staff will continue to focus on preparing the players on our roster for the regular season opener on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns".
Anyone seeking confirmation on Le'Veon Bell's potential return to the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't get the answers they were seeking from coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday.
Bell did not show for the Steelers' practice on Monday and has yet to sign the $14.5 million franchise tender the team offered him.
Team captains Maurkice Pouncey and Cam Heyward said they've communicated with Bell, but they wouldn't disclose particulars.
"Whenever he comes, we'll welcome him with open arms", Pouncey said. "We put him in the backseat, strap him in and be ready to go". "Being a rookie who missed a lot of time due to soft tissue injuries and lack of general readiness to a guy who's done the things that we outlined".
He can still show up at any point and sign the tag, but he can also, by collective bargaining agreement, skip the first nine weeks of the season, show up for week 10 and still count that as a full year of service. "We will weigh all of those things at the appropriate time". "I trust James", he said.
Asked if he's more comfortable with the depth behind Bell than he was heading into the 2017 opener, Tomlin said yes. We are playing a really good Steelers offense, a really good Steelers team.