Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell has yet to sign his franchise tender and report for duty. Browns coach Hue Jackson isn’t falling for the notion that Bell won’t be there when the two teams square off on Sunday in Cleveland.
“It has nothing to do with us,” Jackson told reporters on Monday regarding the news that Bell hadn’t shown up as of Monday. “I plan on him being there. We are playing a really good Steelers offense, a really good Steelers team. . . . At the end of the day, I anticipate him being there.”
Bell being there could be a good thing for the Browns. When the Browns and Steelers got together in Week One a year ago, six days after Bell signed his franchise tender, he rushed for only 32 yards on 10 carries, adding only 15 yards on three receptions. And the Browns had a chance to win the game.
So this year, whether it’s a rusty Bell or no Bell at all, maybe the Browns can match on the first Sunday of the season their win total over the past two years. That prospect makes the games to be played in the first early window of the year even more fascinating.