Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown miss Pittsburgh Steelers voluntary training

The Pittsburgh Steelers have started their voluntary offseason training program without three of their most high-profile stars.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown missed practice, while Le’Veon Bell sat out after being franchise tagged by the Steelers for the second time.

It is up to the players to attend the voluntary workouts, but no reason was given for Roethlisberger and Brown’s absence.

“It’s tough, you wish they were here,” guard David DeCastro said. “It’s a team event, but it’s not real football yet. It’s one of those things, you just look at it as an older guy, just get in shape.

“It would be great if they were out here, but at the same time we’ll be all right. I think they’ll definitely be all right.”

Roethlisberger, 35, has previously said he is considering his future “one year at a time”, but is expected to return for the new season.

Brown missed the last two weeks of the 2017 season after suffering a “significant lower leg contusion” in the defeat against the New England Patriots but returned for their playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.