Le'Veon Bell still a no-show at Steelers facilities ahead of Week 8

Bell's teammates react to his continued absence (0:38)

Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, and Cameron Heyward speak on the continued absence of teammate Le'Veon Bell. (0:38)

PITTSBURGH -- Le'Veon Bell did not report to the Steelers' facilities on Monday despite plans to use Weeks 7 and 8 to make his return to the team.

Bell was not on the practice field nor inside the locker room as the team reconvened after the bye week.

Center Maurkice Pouncey said nothing surprises him with the now-two-month storyline.

"I'm enjoying the ride just like you guys. I want to see how it plays out," Pouncey said. "I'm waiting to see just like everyone else. No bets are out there, trust me. I think we're just enjoying the process, see how it plays out, and hopefully the best for him."

Defensive tackle Cam Heyward insisted that the storyline hasn't worried the locker room.

"It's everybody else. In our locker room, we're not even worried about it. It's unfair for me to even talk about him, and he'll have to answer his questions when he wants to," Heyward said. "But we're not talking about it right now. We've got Cleveland Browns football, and if he joins along the way, so be it. But it's not fair to everybody in this locker room, and Le'Veon himself, for us to keep talking about it."

Bell, who forfeits $855,000 for each week he fails to sign his $14.5 million franchise tag, told ESPN on Oct. 1 that he would play football this year and did not expect to be traded.

ESPN reported Bell expected to return during the Week 7-8 time frame. That window ends with Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns in Heinz Field. Bell wanted to utilize the extra practice week during that two-week stretch, and it's possible his plans have changed.

Bell must report by Nov. 13 -- the Tuesday of Week 11 -- in order to play this season. Bell also said the team had planned on placing the transition tag on him during the offseason and he bought a loss-of-value insurance policy to protect him this year.

Bell is missing games to preserve his health for a long-term contract in Pittsburgh or elsewhere.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday that some sources around the league believe Bell will wait until after the Oct. 30 trade deadline to return to work because he does not want to be traded. Bell must be signed to facilitate a trade. He told ESPN earlier this month that he would consider trade offers if a team is serious about signing him long-term and about winning championships.

Several Steelers players have said they couldn't "care less" when Bell shows but will embrace him upon his return and don't expect any major adjustments. Bell must take a physical with the team before practicing.

"I haven't talked to him. Nobody has," guard Ramon Foster said. "We're in a wait-and-see situation like you guys."

Foster said he "salutes" Bell's business fight but wouldn't get into different scenarios Bell might be thinking.

Bell's replacement, James Conner, entered the bye week with 453 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, both ranking among the league's top five before Sunday.

Pouncey was hesitant when asked if the team was now "used to" playing without Bell, though.

"I don't wanna say that -- 'cause he's been a great player, he's done a lot of great things -- but it's always the next man up, man," Pouncey said. "We always live by that code here, being a Steeler; and he's doing a great job with it. He's excelling at a high rate, and guys on the team are loving it."