PITTSBURGH -- Le'Veon Bell is back to work.
The Pittsburgh Steelers running back entered the team facility Friday afternoon, fulfilling his public promise to return Sept. 1. The team said later Friday that Bell passed his physical and will rejoin the team Monday.
Whether he officially signed his $12.1 million franchise tender is not confirmed, though that is the expectation. Signing allows Bell to officially prepare with his team for the Sept. 10 season opener at Cleveland.
Bell, who averaged 157 yards from scrimmage per game last season, third best for a running back in NFL history, stayed away for the month of August while not under contract. The Steelers failed to sign Bell to a long-term deal before the July 17 deadline for franchise-tagged players.
Bell considered returning Monday because the team is off Friday through Sunday. He recovered months ago from offseason groin surgery.
Bell has been active on social media in recent weeks, chronicling workouts in South Florida and challenging teammates to rap battles. Thursday night, Bell even applied for a job at Dairy Queen.
The Steelers will be ready for Bell's return. Several players said they understood Bell's business predicament but grew tired of the constant questions surrounding his absence.
"We just want to get him here and get back to work," guard David DeCastro said last week. "We look forward to that and embrace him with open arms. ...You just want to move on and do something important."
General manager Kevin Colbert expressed disappointment that Bell missed training camp, comparing it to "boxing without sparring." Still, the team never considered rescinding Bell's tender.
"We've said it in the past -- we want Le'Veon to have a great NFL career as a Pittsburgh Steeler," Colbert said. "That hasn't changed. In reality, all we're dealing with is 2017."