Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell gets suspension, fine reduced
On a day the NFL upheld Tom Brady's four-game suspension, the league reduced Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell's by a third.
Bell will be forced to sit out the first two games and forfeit two game checks, an NFL spokesman confirmed to Trib Total Media. Bell in April had been suspended three games and fined four paychecks for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
“Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been suspended without pay for the first two games of the 2015 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse,” a league spokesman wrote in an email.
Bell will miss games against the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers and be fined $91,717. Bell won't be allowed to practice or be in the Steelers facility from the end of the preseason until Sept. 21.
He will make his return Sept. 27 at home against the St. Louis Rams.
The Steelers are 0-4 in games Bell has missed the past two years.
“As I have stated before, we were disappointed in Le'Veon Bell's actions last August,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said. “Le'Veon made a mistake, and now he must learn from his mistake and focus on eliminating distractions from his life. We look forward to continuing to work with Le'Veon to try to help him reach his full potential as a person and as a player.”
Bell's agent, Adisa Bakari, did not return a message.
Bell decided to negotiate a lesser punishment rather than go through the appeal process.
Bell was arrested in Aug ust while driving a couple hours before the team's chartered flight for a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Police charged him with possession of marijuana and driving under the influence. The NFL suspended him one game for the marijuana possession and two for the DUI.
Former teammate LeGarrette Blount, a passenger in the car, was cited for possession of marijuana. Blount, who now plays for the Patriots, was suspended for the season opener against the Steelers.
The NFL's substance-abuse policy that went into effect Nov. 1 mandates at least a two-game suspension — and not more than four games — for a player convicted of, or admitting to, violating the law.
Bell was given 15 months' probation and admitted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for first-time, nonviolent offenders during a Feb. 6 hearing.
Ross police stopped Bell on Aug. 20 after an officer said he smelled marijuana coming from Bell's passing car.
According to the criminal complaint, Bell told the officer: “I didn't know you could get a DUI for being high. I smoked two hours ago. I'm not high anymore. I'm perfectly fine. Why would I be getting high if I had to make it to my game?”