Le’Veon Bell to show up for work. They said all the right things Jordan Berry Jersey , stressed they understood the star running back was making a business decision by opting to stay home in hopes of protecting himself ahead of a potentially lucrative payday next spring.And they’d welcome him with open arms whenever he returned.On Wednesday, with Bell’s absence for the rest of the season a certainty after he declined to sign his one-year, $14.5-million franchise tender , they exhaled.And pillaged.Bell’s teammates invaded his locker after practice, helping themselves to whatever they wanted — or at least whatever fit — with Bell’s career in Pittsburgh all but over. It wasn’t personal. Just business. A celebration of sorts to honor — they hope anyway — the last time they’ll have to answer questions about Bell’s unorthodox approach, one that included leaving his teammates in the dark about his plans.“I think we all just assumed he’d be here and it’d be the same as the year before,” guard David DeCastro said. “It amazes me in this day and age when you can tweet about things but you can’t talk to each other. You’re so connected, but you’re disconnected at the same time. It’s really interesting when you think about it from the big picture side of it. After that it is what it is David DeCastro Jersey , you stop worrying about it and you just move on.”Something the first-place Steelers (6-2-1) are more than happy to do. They take a five-game winning streak into Sunday’s game at Jacksonville (3-6) looking for a bit of revenge against a team that beat them twice last season at Heinz Field, including a 45-42 stunner in the divisional round of the playoffs.Bell finished with 157 total yards and two touchdowns in the loss. The Steelers cleaned out their lockers the following day, Bell among them. Despite saying he wanted to be a “Steeler for life” he never returned.Ben Roethlisberger attempted to reach out to Bell, texting him before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline saying he hoped Bell would come in and sign. Bell never arrived and never responded to the quarterback he played alongside during the first five years of his career.“He was a great teammate here, a great football player,” Roethlisberger said. “To each his own on what they want to walk away from.”The Steelers, meanwhile, will try to move forward without the versatile Bell Chukwuma Okorafor Jersey , who played a vital role in the team’s run of four straight playoff berths. Yet they have hardly missed a beat thanks to the rapid development of second-year back James Conner. The former Pitt star is second in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,158 yards) and his 10 rushing touchdowns are already one more than Bell ever put up in a single season.Conner’s success, however, also put him in an awkward position. He considers Bell a friend — and while Bell did otherwise stay silent on Tuesday he did share an Instagram story that appeared to show him promoting Conner to make the Pro Bowl — and never wanted to be put into an adversarial position against a mentor.“I never really pay attention to it,” James said. “I always go by the model ‘control what you can control,’ so I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”Those concerns are gone now. While Bell will spend the next four months getting ready to hit free agency in hopes of landing a contract that would make him the highest-paid back in the NFL, Conner’s goals are more immediate. He sat out the late portions of a 52-21 romp over Carolina last Thursday after being placed in the concussion protocol for the first time as a pro.Conner admitted he felt “dizzy” initially, but was cleared to return to practice on Wednesday and should be fine to face the Jaguars.“I feel good Ramon Foster Jersey , feel like me again,” Conner said. “Back to normal.”And his team again looks like the class of the AFC North. While Bell’s absence caused a furor when he didn’t come in before the regular season began — as he did in 2017 — things have died down considerably over the last month. Going unbeaten since the start of October helps. So does having Conner look like a Pro Bowler in his own right.“It’s nice that it’s over,” DeCastro said. “I don’t have to give (the media) clichés, broken-record answers. We’re just going to keep getting James some more yards and keep winning games. At the end of the day it’s been fun. We’re on a roll and the season goes by a lot faster when you’re winning games.”NOTES: The NFL flexed San Diego’s visit to Pittsburgh on Dec. 2 to 8:20 p.m. EDT. The game had originally been scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. … The league also moved Pittsburgh’s game at Oakland on Dec. 9 from 8:20 EDT to 4:25 EDT. … RT Marcus Gilbert (knee) and DE Stephon Tuitt (elbow) did not practice on Wednesday. … Roethlisberger was given the day off, as is typical. OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A Pittsburgh Steelers team that kept finding ways to win during a six-game winning streak now has fallen short at the end for a third straight game.A slick field that led to kicker Chris Boswell losing his footing on a potential game-tying kick is to blame this time.Boswell missed a 40-yard attempt after the Steelers used a hook-and-lateral to get into position following Derek Carr’s go-ahead touchdown pass that sent Pittsburgh to a 24-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.“Sometimes it makes it worse when it’s right there,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “If you get blown out it doesn’t seem to hurt as bad as when you have a chance.”The Steelers (7-5-1) have sure had their chances during their current skid. Roethlisberger threw an interception at the goal line with just over a minute left of a 24-17 loss to Denver on Nov. 25 and Pittsburgh then lost last week when Mike Badgley made a field goal on the final play in a 33-30 victory for the Chargers last week.This week it was a missed kick by Pittsburgh that determined the outcome. Boswell also missed a 39-yard field goal against the Raiders (3-10) and has six missed field goals and five missed extra points for the most combined missed kicks in the NFL this season.Coach Mike Tomlin called Boswell’s slump disappointing and wouldn’t commit to sticking with his kicker long term.“He’s not the only one disappointed,” Boswell said. “I mean this is a business. You’re evaluated by results and I’m not getting it done right now so whatever happens from here happens.”The loss cost the Steelers a chance to open up some ground in the AFC North race with Baltimore. The Steelers still lead the Ravens by a half-game Vince Williams Jersey , but have matchups with New England and at New Orleans the following two weeks.Roethlisberger almost led an impressive comeback after missing the first four series of the second half with a rib injury. He returned to the game after backup Joshua Dobbs failed to generate any points on four drives and Derek Carr gave Oakland a 17-14 lead with a 3-yard TD pass to Lee Smith with 5:20 to play.Big Ben then led a 75-yard drive capped by his second 1-yard TD pass of the game to JuJu Smith-Schuster, putting Pittsburgh on top 21-17 with 2:55 to go.But Roethlisberger was only a spectator as Carr drove the Raiders to the go-ahead score, a 6-yard pass on fourth down to Derek Carrier with 23 seconds left.“We’re there at the ball,” Tomlin said. “We’re not making plays on the ball. Probably equally as frustrating is we’re not making them and they are. It’s not like those balls are falling incomplete so we still have work to do.”Pittsburgh almost overcame that when Roethlisberger threw a short pass to James Washington for a 5-yard gain. Washington then flipped the ball to Smith-Schuster, who raced down the sideline for 43 more yards to set up Boswell’s kick that went right into the line when he lost his footing.“The field is the field,” he said. “You can’t complain about it. You can’t blame anything. It’s as bad as it is for me as it is for anyone else. You just have to find a way to put it through.”