Le’Veon Bell Accepts Three Game Suspension
For the second consecutive year, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell will leave his team in the lurch at the start of the 2016 season due to a suspension. And though the Steelers have seen their fare share of suspensions over the years, Bell’s is essentially a continuation of his first, which was for violating the NFL Policy for Substances Abuse, as he’s missed his mandatory drug testing subsequent to that.
It’s hard not to like Bell, he’s as gifted an athlete as the Steelers have ever had, as well as one of the most dynamic running backs the league has ever seen. But for fans, there is a big question mark hanging over this kid as now it’s become difficult to accept him at his word. One could point to his naiveté in last years arrest while being under the influence of a bad seed like LaGarrett Blount, and we accepted his apology and certainly assumed he would be on the up and up from that point on.
Bell had the knee injury in the late season game against the Bengals in 2015, forcing him to miss the wild card playoff game the following week, then of course the unfortunate season ending injury at the paws of Bengals linebacker Vonte Burfict in the tenth game of last season. So just when we’re applauding Bell’s ability to rehab and return to the field, we hear him lie about missing or failing his drug tests, profess his innocence, then be found liable resulting in the three games he will miss at the start of 2016.
As far as how this will effect the Pittsburgh Steelers in the early going, it won’t. With DeAngelo Williams and other eager young running backs on the roster more than capable of carrying the load in his absence, the team will be as competitive as they have been in recent times. How this will impact Bell however is a different scenario. The upside for Bell is that by virtue of his agreement he will not have to incur anything more than a four game suspension in the event he is again found in violation of the league policy. However, with a new contract looming and his playing future somewhat on the line in Pittsburgh, it’s safe to assume he is on very thin ice with the organization. Remember how the Rooney’s shipped former wide receiver Santonio Holmes off to New York in the middle of the night for similar behavior? Santonio was a Super Bowl MVP, including making one of the most dynamic plays in the history of the game, whereas Le’Veon is carving out a less than stellar resume with respect to character issues.
As a Steeler fan we want number 26 on the field, we want him in the playoffs and we cherish his abilities and talent. But character is what has made the Steel City champions and perhaps it’s Le’Veon lack of that attribute that will be his downfall. We certainly hope that is not the case, it’s not looking as if he career in rap music is taking off.
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