PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Le'Veon Bell watch is almost over for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The star running back has until 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon to sign his one-year franchise tender and be eligible to play this season. Coach Mike Tomlin says the AFC North-leading Steelers (6-2-1) have not heard from Bell, but added the team understands there is a business element to Bell's decision to stay away from the team.
The 26-year-old and the Steelers have been unable to come to terms on a new long-term contract in each of the past two offseasons. Bell, a two-time All-Pro, was scheduled to make $14.4 million this year under the terms of the franchise tag, but he has already forfeited $8.5 million.
Bell can become a free agent in March.
Pittsburgh is rolling even with Bell out of the lineup. The Steelers have won five straight games heading into a visit to Jacksonville on Sunday.