Bell, who averaged 157 yards from scrimmage per game last season, third best for a running back in NFL history, stayed away from the team in 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 passed his physical on Friday and now must prepare for the Sept. 10 season opener at Cleveland. He recovered months ago from offseason groin surgery.
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.”
Information from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler was used in this report.