Bell last played for Pittsburgh in the AFC divisional round in January.
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is "not expected to report" to the Steelers in time for Pittsburgh's Week 10 matchup with the Panthers on Thursday, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Adam Schefter. Bell has not played for the Steelers in 2018 and is holding out to seek a new contract.
Bell must report to the Steelers by Nov. 13 to play in 2018. Per the league's collective bargaining agreement, any player on a contract is mandated to report to their team by the Tuesday after Week 10 to be eligible for the rest of the season. Thursday night's matchup vs. Carolina will be the last contest Bell can miss to appear in any game this season.
There's no guarantee Bell will appear at Pittsburgh's facility by Nov. 13, as Bell's absence in Week 10 "[increases] the possibility that the star running back will not play at all this season," per Fowler and Schefter. The Michigan State product will miss out on $855,000 for each game he holds out.
Bell led the league in carries in 2017 and rushed for 1291 yards and nine touchdowns. The Steelers' running game has not slowed in his absence. Second-year running back James Conner has tallied 1,085 yards from scrimmage this season and added nine rushing touchdowns. Pittsburgh's offense ranks No. 9 in the NFL in points per game.
Pittsburgh is likely to place the transition tag on Bell after the season per Schefter. The move would place the Steelers' initial contract for Bell at "approximately $9 million to $10 million" for the 2019 season. Teams can bid more for Bell's services, but Pittsburgh would have the right to match any offer. If the Steelers are the highest bidder, Bell will be forced to sign with the team.
Bell would have made $14.5 million playing under the franchise tag this season.