Two days after we learned that LeGarrette Blount will be suspended one game for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) that Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell will be suspended three games for his involvement in the same incident. Bell, who is appealing the ban, would also be fined an additional game check if the penalty is upheld.
While Blount was arrested for marijuana possession before the season got underway last summer, Bell was charged for both marijuana possession and DUI, which explains the more punitive discipline the Steelers back received from the league.
If Bell is indeed forced to sit out the first three games of the 2015 season, it figures to result in an expanded role for DeAngelo Williams, the only outside free agent signed by Pittsburgh so far this offseason. Dri Archer and Josh Harris also should be in the running back mix, though they’re unlikely to carry the majority of the load. The Steelers may consider adding a back in the draft as well.
Coming off a season in which he led the AFC with 1,361 yards, Bell looked poised to contend for the NFL’s rushing title in 2015, but missing three games would certainly put him at a disadvantage in that race. Assuming the penalty – including the fourth-game fine – holds up, the 23-year-old will forfeit $194,900, a quarter of his $779,600 base salary for 2015.