NFL notebook: Steelers' Bell fails to report to team

By The Sports Xchange
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell looks for running room during a game against the New England Patriots in December 2017. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell looks for running room during a game against the New England Patriots in December 2017. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell did not report to the team before Saturday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, multiple media outlets reported.

Bell's absence means that he'll officially forfeit his Week 1 game check worth $853,000. He has refused to sign a $14.5 million franchise tag while pursuing a new contract.


The Steelers were headed to Cleveland for their regular-season opener against the Browns.

Second-year running back James Conner is expected to start in place of Bell, who may not be available for Week 2 -- or even longer, given the remarks of his agent Adisa Bakari on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Wednesday.

-- The Seattle Seahawks activated safety Earl Thomas, one day before the team's season opener against the Denver Broncos.


ESPN's Dan Graziano reported that the Seahawks plan to start Thomas on Sunday.

Thomas, who missed the entire preseason in a contract dispute with the Seahawks, did not report to the team until Wednesday.

--The Seahawks placed cornerback Dontae Johnson on injured reserve, the NFL Network reported.

Johnson was dealing with a hip injury and had been listed as questionable, but was placed on IR because of a groin injury, according to the report. He is expected to return in the second half of the season.

The move further thins a Seattle secondary. Cornerback Byron Maxwell was among three players released by the Seahawks with injury settlements. Quarterback Austin Davis and linebacker Erik Walden also reached injury settlements, multiple media outlets reported.

--Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes did not travel with the team and is expected to miss its season opener against the New Orleans Saints.

Grimes sustained a groin injury during Friday's practice for the Bucs, who also placed De'Vante Harris on injured reserve and promoted fellow cornerback Javien Elliott from the practice squad on Saturday.


A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Grimes had 49 tackles and three interceptions last season. The 35-year-old has recorded 95 tackles, seven interceptions and 35 passes defenses in 29 games with the Buccaneers.

--The Carolina Panthers added Greg Olsen to their injury report, labeling the veteran tight end as questionable to play in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

Olsen is nursing a back injury heading into the Panthers' road tilt versus the Cowboys on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET). He joins guard Amini Silatolu (knee), tackle Daryl Williams (knee) and fellow tight end Chris Manhertz (foot) as questionable to play against Dallas. Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel (medical illness) has been ruled out.

Rookie Ian Thomas and Manhertz will see an uptick in snaps should Olsen be limited or forced to sit out versus Cowboys.

--Cindy McCain will serve as the Arizona Cardinals' honorary captain prior to Sunday's season-opening game against the Washington Redskins, the team announced.

McCain, who is the widow of Sen. John McCain, will join the team at midfield for the pregame coin toss. She will be accompanied by wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who is one of the Cardinals' seven captains and a longtime friend of the McCains.


Cindy McCain shared a picture on her Instagram account of Fitzgerald, John McCain and herself at the cabin in Cornville (Ariz.), where the elder McCain had been receiving medical treatment.

--New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and safety Marcus Maye are listed as doubtful to play in the team's season opener against the Detroit Lions on Monday.

Kearse has been limited in practice with an abdominal injury. He underwent a medical procedure to repair the injury last month and missed New York's final two preseason games.

Entering his seventh NFL season overall and second with the Jets, Kearse appeared in 16 games, making 14 starts, for New York last season. He hauled in a career-best 65 receptions to go with five touchdowns.

--New England Patriots running back James White was named as one of the team's captains heading into the season.

White caught the winning pass in the Patriots' 34-28 overtime victory versus the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

The 26-year-old White, who is entering his fifth year in the NFL, joins quarterback Tom Brady, safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty as well as center David Andrews as captains.


--Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz lamented a pair of ugly drops that marred his performance in the team's season-opening 18-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

While Ertz finished with five receptions for 48 yards on Thursday, Ertz wasn't celebrating his stat line despite being targeted 10 times.

"I didn't have a great game. I had drops that just don't happen. I don't think I've ever dropped that many balls in a game in my life. Contested or not, whatever it was, it just can't happen," Ertz said, via The Morning Call. "I can't dwell on having a couple drops. It's going to happen -- it's the NFL. But at the same time, I'm going to be better. I promise you that."

--Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver/kick returner Alex Erickson signed a two-year contract extension, the team announced.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Bengals, but NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Erickson's extension is worth $4.68 million -- plus incentives.

Erickson was in the final season of a three-year contract with the club.

--The San Francisco 49ers placed linebacker Dekoda Watson on injured reserve, the team announced.


Watson, who is entering his ninth NFL season overall and second with the 49ers, was listed on Friday's injury report as ruled out for the season opener with a hamstring injury.

The 30-year-old appeared in 14 games in a reserve role with San Francisco last season, posting three tackles on defense and six on special teams.

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