Source: Le'Veon Bell not expected to report to Steelers this week

Fowler visualizes Bell-Conner backfield (1:10)

Jeremy Fowler describes the "one-two punch" of a James Conner-Le'Veon Bell backfield when Bell decides to return to the Steelers. (1:10)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are not expecting running back Le'Veon Bell to return to the team this week, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Steelers are on their bye this week, and the players are off Thursday through Sunday. Bell could next report Oct. 22.

Sources told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler earlier this month that Bell intended to report to the Steelers during the Week 7-8 time frame.

"I miss football," Bell told Fowler then. "When I do get back, I plan to give it my all. I still do want to go out there and win a Super Bowl with the Steelers."

Despite that statement, as of Sunday, Bell still had not been in touch with team officials or players, sources told Schefter.

Bell hasn't signed his $14.5 million franchise tag while preserving his health for a long-term contract in Pittsburgh or elsewhere. During his absence, James Conner has emerged as a productive replacement at running back, rushing for 453 yards and seven touchdowns.

After Conner's 135-yard, two-touchdown performance in Sunday's win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Bell took to Twitter.

After its Week 7 bye, Pittsburgh (3-2-1) will next take the field in Week 8 at home against the Cleveland Browns.