PITTSBURGH -- No training camp, no worries for Le'Veon Bell, who said he's preparing for as many as 30 touches per game if that's what the Pittsburgh Steelers need to beat the Cleveland Browns in Week 1.
Fresh off his first practice with the team in 2017, Bell said he resumed his usual workload and is eager to graduate to football pads during Wednesday's practice.
Bell waited until Sept. 4 to sign his $12.1 million franchise tender. The reason why is clear-cut: his health.
"I wanted to make sure I was prepared and fresh for the season," Bell said. "I don't want to go out there and jeopardize myself getting hurt in camp. Obviously I understand I'm on a one-year deal, so I have to go out there and prepare and play football. ... My rookie year I got hurt in camp, so I didn't even want to deal with it. I wanted to get ready for Game 1, the games that count and go out there and try to win a Super Bowl."
Bell declined comment on the failed negotiations with the Steelers before the July 17 deadline for franchise players to sign a long-term deal. But he said both sides have no hard feelings over his subsequent absence.
Asked about the Post-Gazette report that Bell nixed a long-term agreement to which his agent previously agreed, Bell said he wasn't sure where that came from. As for his recent rap line "I'mma need 17 a year," Bell said he's not making any financial requests and simply plans to play on a one-year contract.
"Football is more than just a sport. There's a business behind it," Bell said. "There are no hard feelings. Everyone's happy. ... Maybe next year something happens. But I'm worried about this year."
Even Antonio Brown, who was vocal about Bell needing to be at camp with his teammates, understands that stance.
"He's a businessman. I respect you've got to make decisions that are right for his family," Brown said. "My opinion is just my opinion. He's a mature individual, professional player and I know he's going to do what's right for him."
Bell -- who averaged 157 total yards per game last season, third all-time for a running back -- said his teammates understood why he was gone and knew he'd show up in good shape.
And then there's football shape. Bell admitted he got a little winded at times Monday. Brown said the starters got extra run on Labor Day.
Now that the business side is done, Bell eyes a healthy workload.
"I'm working hard for 30 carries, whatever it may be, 30 touches, or whether it's 10 touches, I'm ready to go out there and get the job," Bell said.