Head coach Hue Jackson’s mind is made up.
“It has nothing to do with us,” Jackson said. “I plan on him being there. We are playing a really good Steelers offense, a really good Steelers team. He is one of those ‘B brothers’ (Bell and Steelers WR Antonio Brown). At the end of the day, I anticipate him being there.”
Will the Browns see LeVeon Bell on Sunday?
— Full Press Browns (@FPC_Browns) September 3, 2018
Bell will miss Sunday’s opener at FirstEnergy Stadium if he does not sign his franchise tag contract. The Steelers running back has held out of training camp and the preseason due to the franchise tag. 2018 might be the last year Le’Veon puts on a Steelers helmet.
The Browns faced the same dilemma at this time last year. Bell held out the preseason in 2017 for the exact same reason. Cleveland prepared as if Bell would be in a black and gold uniform. Sure enough, Le’Veon ended his holdout in 2017 on Labor Day and signed his franchise tag. The Steelers running back struggled in last year’s meeting in Cleveland. Bell only rushed for 32-yards on ten carries in addition to three receptions for 15-yards.
Labor Day 2018 has come and gone and still no Le’Veon in Pittsburgh. This won’t be a distraction for the Browns as they prepare to host their hated division rivals. Cleveland has plenty of other things to concern themselves with this Sunday.
The Browns have not beaten the Steelers since October, 2014. Cleveland has not won a regular season opener since 2004 and are 1-18 in season openers since returning to the NFL in 1999.
If the Browns don’t see Bell on Sunday, second year running back James Conner is expected to start for Pittsburgh.
Scott Piker is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Browns. So follow him on twitter @ScottPikerSport