Running back Le’Veon Bell was officially suspended on Friday for three games, having his suspension reduced by one game. Bell’s suspension was reduced from its initial length of four games as a result of a negotiated settlement between the NFLPA and the NFL.
Bell officially missed three tests, one in December, one in January and one in April.
“They tried to test me in December and January and I missed those tests,” Bell said in an Instagram post he later deleted. “I couldn’t get to the facility and get tested. They couldn’t come to me and get tested. That’s on me.”
A Steelers source says Bell’s primary case in getting the suspension reduced was that the December missed test was while he was on injured reserve and in January Bell had proof of being out of town.
However, a former Steeler tells us it’s near impossible to miss these tests by accident or there being some type of confusion between both sides.
“They will come to you no matter where you are and they will find you,” the player said.
When in the drug program like Bell is in, players must supply the NFL with as many as five contacts and when the tester can’t find the player, they go down the line to get in contact with the player and they almost always find the player.
It’s also the job of the player, usually the players representation, in the program to contact the proper people when the player is traveling.
Bell is represented by a veteran Sports agency and it’s hard to imagine they’re not on top of things. If not, he needs to get new representation immediately.
Meanwhile, Bell admitted in his deleted Instagram post, he overslept the April test.
“I ended up missing the test,” Bell said. “I was sleeping and that’s on me. I can’t blame anybody else for missing my test. I just want everybody to understand I never tried to purposefully avoid or evade any test.”
Bell also gave a nice soundbite in the Instagram post saying “I haven’t smoked December 2014.” (When did Bell become a comedian?)
As Bell is suspended to start another season, the Steelers continue to stand in his corner in believing he doesn’t have the type of problem that a Martavis Bryant has for example in being a total burnout.
“We will continue to support Le’Veon, but we acknowledge this mistake has put the team in an unfortunate position,” Kevin Colbert said in a released statement. “We will continue to work with Le’Veon to help him eliminate distractions in his life so he can reach his full potential as a member of our community as well as a player for the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Bell is so well liked by players and members of the organization, the Steelers believe Bell can be fixed with the right guidance. It’s not just being a very good running back. Bell being so well liked helps his cause in so many standing by him.
They don’t believe he’s a Santonio Holmes who was so disliked in the room, the Steelers were sick of the headaches when he was about to get popped for a four game suspension and traded him in the last year of his contract. The Steelers might have another Super Bowl if they had Holmes against Green Bay.
The win for Bell personally is that he gets to remain in his current stage of the NFL’s drug program. Therefore, if he gets suspended again, it will be for four games instead of 10.
However, is it just another thing that has many overlooking that Bell might have an actual problem?
Key areas of concern for Steelers
The Steelers are so top heavy with Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown that the two stars will cover up many limitations the Steelers might have in some areas on offense this season, especially early in the year without Le’Veon Bell.
The preseason, though, has exposed a few spots that could be concerning throughout the year.
Along the offensive line, left tackle Alejandro Villanueva needs a lot of help in pass blocking situations against speed edge rushers as he did last season, and the Eagles game showed No. 1 tight end Jesse James is also going to need help quite often.
This could impact the passing game when it comes to backs being threats as pass catchers.
While the Steelers believe Jesse James can be adequate enough as a pass catcher, the Steelers are badly on the hunt for a Matt Spaeth type to add to the mix. The tight end situation is murky at best.
Xavier Grimble is far too inconsistent as a pass catcher and blocker to be trusted for many reps in a game.
— Landry Jones four interception first half vs the Eagles was not all on him but there’s been enough of a sample with Jones for over three seasons now from practices, to preseason games, to last year in the regular season playing that he’s just not a good enough No. 2 for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
Despite the few moments Jones had last season, he was mostly saved by the great playmakers Pittsburgh has and when teams started studying him like the Chiefs did, he looks like the QB he’s always been during practices.
(Photo: David Hague)
When Cole Starts, All the Pirates do is Lose-Lose-Lose
The Pirates 6-5 loss to the Marlins Friday night saw Gerrit Cole yield three earned runs on 12 hits and three walks over 6.2 innings.
Over his last two starts, Cole has allowed 24 hits.
While all the Pirates do is win these days when Jameson Taillon and Chad Kuhl start, all the Pirates do is lose when Gerrit Cole starts.
Cole’s last 10 starts the Pirates are 2-8.