Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell did not report to the NFL club on Saturday, forfeiting an $855,000 game check for Sunday's season opener at Cleveland to extend his contract holdout.
The 26-year-old rusher, who has spent his entire five-year NFL career with the Steelers, did not join the team for its bus ride to nearby Cleveland to face the Browns.
The Steelers made Bell their "franchise player" for the second consecutive year, handing him a one-year deal among the richest for any league rusher at $14.45 million.
But Bell has refused to sign the contract and report to the Steelers, leaving second-year rusher James Conner to start in his spot.
If the Steelers do not rescind the franchise tag on Bell, allowing him to become a free agent, or make a better offer, Bell could avoid reporting until the 10th week of the season, the latest he could report and still have the 2018 campaign count toward free agency status under NFL rules.
That could cost Bell more than $7 million and cost the Steelers one of their best offensive weapons for most of the season as they seek a fifth consecutive trip to the playoffs.
Talks between Bell and the Steelers failed in mid-July before the start of pre-season training camp. Bell has said he wants more money after touching the ball more than 400 times for Pittsburgh last season.
Bell had a career-high 321 carries for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns last season while also making a career-high 85 catches for 655 yards and two touchdowns.