Rooney made his intentions clear when asked about trade talks involving Bell ahead of the Oct. 30 deadline. The three-time Pro Bowl selection, who has yet to sign his $14.5 million franchise tag, previously said he plans to return prior to the Steelers' game against the AFC North rival Cleveland Browns on Oct. 28.
"I expect him to be a member of the team going forward. That's my expectation," the 66-year-old Rooney said.
The Steelers (3-2-1) attempted to trade Bell earlier in the season. Now, the logic appears to be that the 26-year-old will form a tandem with James Conner for the rest of the campaign.
"I think the team has handled it well," Rooney said. "The players have adjusted, just carrying on without him. That's all you can do. But it's early in the season, we have a long way to go. We just have to keep getting better every week. Can't take anything for granted."
Conner has rushed for a pair of touchdowns in back-to-back games and seven in six contests this season. He has 453 yards on the ground as well as 26 receptions for 257 yards.
"We've learned that James is a darn good football player," Rooney said. "Happy to have him."