After learning more about what his status would be for next season under the NFL's CBA, there's now a "real possibility" Le'Veon Bell won't report to the Pittsburgh Steeler by the franchise tag deadline of November 13.
"I don't know what his plans are, but I would say that at this point we expect him to come back next week", Rooney said. He has also written a couple of vague tweets about his situation, sitting out the first 10 weeks of the season after the Steelers put the franchise tag on him and long-term negotiations fell apart. "We're kind of expecting he'll be back next week".
Pittsburgh is 5-2-1 on the season and sit first in the AFC North, while Bell's replacement, James Conner, sits second in the National Football League in rushing yards.
On the Steelers' end, Carolina should expect to see a lot of James Conner, who now leads the AFC in rushing with 706 yards. If Bell lets that date pass without him putting ink on paper, he'll be deemed ineligible to play this season. "So, there are questions that we may get to at the end of the season".
That's how long it took the Steelers to hit the Panthers in the face with a nasty, 1-2 combination - a 75-yard touchdown catch by JuJu Smith-Schuster, followed by a 17-yard interception return for a TD by linebacker Vince Williams. In fact, he might not be playing for them for the rest of the season.
On Wednesday night, Bell posted two messages on his Twitter account in upside-down text, saying in part that he is "not apologizing" for his holdout.