Coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t know when Michigan State alum Le’Veon Bell is going to show up for work. Maybe it’ll be in time for the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro running back to be ready for Sunday’s season opener at Cleveland.
Or maybe Bell will skip a week to send one last message about his frustration over not being able to sign a long-term deal during the offseason.
Or maybe Bell will wait until early November to sign his one-year franchise tender , a move that would cost him millions in lost salary up front, a windfall Bell hopes to recoup when he hits free agency next spring.
“Right now, (I’m) singularly focused on the guys focused that have been here,” Tomlin said.
Second-year running back James Conner chief among them. The former Pitt star made significant strides during training camp. Following an uneven rookie season in which he dealt with various health concerns — including a knee injury in December that landed him on injured reserve — Conner’s rise over the spring and summer left his teammates confident and his head coach impressed.
Player recounts trafficking as child
Defensive end Efe Obada plays like a man fighting for survival when he steps on the football field.
Given his life story, it’s understandable.
The Nigerian-born Obada, 26, says he was a victim of human trafficking at the age of 10. He said he and his older sister were abandoned in the streets of London, England. Now he’s a Carolina Panther.
Obada said when he was 8 years old his mother arranged for him and his older sister to move from Nigeria to the Netherlands, where she was living at the time. After a couple of years of there, she decided to send the children to the United Kingdom so they could have a better life.
That turned out to be a mistake.
Obada told the Panthers team website the stranger that was supposed to take care of children didn’t carry through on the promise. Instead, he and his sister were left alone and homeless. There, they learned to survive until eventually they were discovered and placed in foster care. They moved from home to home until Obada was old enough to make his own decisions.
“Some of the issues, I haven’t dealt with,” Obada said quietly. “I haven’t really taken time to understand. … Right now I just want to focus on football and make the most of it.”
Obada went to college in London, where he discovered the game of football for the first time at age 22.
Kicker assaulted, unsure of incident
Ravens rookie kicker Kaare Vedvik does not remember the circumstances that led to his assault, according to a police report.
Vedvik, 24, was found with “upper-body injuries” around 4 a.m. Saturday in East Baltimore’s Midway neighborhood and was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center for treatment, according to police.
Vedvik’s phone and wallet were also missing, according to the police report. The kicker and punter was placed on the team’s reserve non-football injury list.
Wentz not cleared to play, coach says
Carson Wentz is not starting Thursday night against Atlanta because he has not received medical clearance, Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson explained Tuesday. There was no decision to be made between quarterbacks Wentz and Nick Foles because Wentz is not yet allowed to play.
“It’s still a medical issue,” Pederson said. “As of right now, me standing here, he is not (cleared).”
Foles, who replaced Wentz after the franchise quarterback tore two knee ligaments in Week 14 last season, was the toast of the town after spectacular performances in the NFC championship game against Minnesota and the Super Bowl victory over New England. But he didn’t lead the offense to any points on 14 drives in two preseason games, threw two interceptions, lost two fumbles and got sacked six times, including a safety.
“I went out there and played,” Foles said Tuesday. “I made mistakes. I did good things. I grew as a player. That’s important. I wasn’t trying to play it safe and with that you are going to make mistakes.”
The Arizona Cardinals’ home field will now be called State Farm Stadium. The team announced that it has reached an 18-year naming rights deal with the insurance giant. The facility has been known as University of Phoenix Stadium since opening in 2006.
... The New York Jets have signed former Giants quarterback Davis Webb to their practice squad.