Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is expected to be the fulcrum of the team’s offense this year, but his training camp holdout is grating on the patience of general manager Kevin Colbert.

Bell and the Steelers couldn’t reach a long-term extension and the two-time Pro Bowler hasn’t signed his franchise tender which would pay him $12.1 million for the upcoming season, by far the highest figure for any running back.

With the season on the horizon, Colbert isn’t mincing words.

“I fully expect Le’Veon Bell to be a significant contributor for the 2017 Steelers. That’s as simple as I can state it,” Colbert said via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Even though Bell is a superstar talent and training camp merely serves to get him back into game shape, Colbert preached the importance of him returning to the team before the season gets underway.

“It’s beneficial for everybody to be in camp. I’ll argue that consistently,” Colbert said. “Training camp is important for the growth and preparedness to be ready to play this game opening week. We can argue about camp and preseason, how many games and all that, but I do know you need to practice this game to play it at the highest level. Someone once said it would be like boxing without sparring. You can’t just show up and play.”

It would be shocking if Bell didn’t return ahead of the regular season, but Colbert and the Steelers have every reason to be concerned.

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