"We are disappointed Le'Veon Bell has not signed his franchise tender and rejoined his teammates," general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement Monday. "Coach [Mike] Tomlin and the coaching staff will continue to focus on preparing the players on our roster for our regular season opener on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns."
Bell was a no-show at the team's facility Monday and has a $14.5 million franchise tender waiting for him.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey told ESPN: "He'll be here Wednesday. Count on it."
Pouncey said teammates are not concerned with Bell's absence because they know he will show up ready to play.
"Whenever he comes, we'll welcome him with open arms," he said. "He's a great player and a great teammate. We know the business side of it. You see Khalil Mack? You ever think the Raiders would let him go?"
Pouncey added: "Last year [Bell] didn't need any [practices] and was best in the league. It's fine. He showed up last year at the same time. Totally fine, trust me."
Guard Ramon Foster said the team is focused on "the 53 that are here."
"No sense in talking about it," he said. "We've got other things to focus on. Cleveland is a good team. Our game plan has to be A-1. And we're on the road. We've got other things to worry about than other guys' money."
Browns coach Hue Jackson said Monday that he expects to be facing Bell on Sunday.
"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," Jackson said.
Last season, Bell took his physical Sept. 1 and showed up for practice Sept. 4, the Monday before the season opener, before playing a full year on a $12.12 million franchise tag.
Bell, who has averaged nearly 130 yards from scrimmage per game since entering the league in 2013, would forfeit $853,000 for every game week he goes unsigned.
Bell has stayed away from the team as a way to avoid injury and exercise his leverage as he seeks a contract extension.
James Conner is the Steelers' lead back in Bell's absence.