Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Few Issues Dog Ground Game Le'veon Bell a Clear Star, but Depth and a Backup Needed to Fill in for Him in Case of Likely Suspension

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Few Issues Dog Ground Game Le'veon Bell a Clear Star, but Depth and a Backup Needed to Fill in for Him in Case of Likely Suspension

Article excerpt

After a season in which Le'Veon Bell led the AFC in rushing and yards from scrimmage and was named the conference's co-offensive player of the year with teammate Antonio Brown by NFL 101, there would not appear to be much concern about the position for the Steelers.

And, for the most part, there isn't.

But there are several disconcerting aspects heading into the 2015 season, and chief among them is the two-game suspension Bell is expected to receive to start the regular season.

Bell was admitted into an Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition program after he was charged with marijuana possession and driving under the influence in August. The charges against him can be dismissed when he completes the program, but such programs are considered guilty pleas under the NFL's new substance abuse policy and mandate a two-game suspension.

"Once the league makes a decision, obviously we'll adhere to it," general manager Kevin Colbert said. "We don't know which way it will go. You know what the policy is written, and we'll see if that's the result. But we don't know at this point. We have to be prepared in the event that he is suspended. That's all part of this process."

The Steelers saw what can happen when they have to play without Bell when they lost their wild-card playoff game at home to the Baltimore Ravens in January.

His absence might not matter against a lesser opponent, but there is a good chance the Steelers could play their first game at New England in the league's season opener Sept. 10.

That means the Steelers have to decide if they want to open their season with Josh Harris and/or Dri Archer at running back against, say, the Patriots; or sign a veteran in free agency like they did last season with LeGarrette Blount. The latter is a more plausible possibility.

When Bell couldn't play against the Ravens, the Steelers signed veteran Ben Tate that week and started him in the playoff game. Even if the Steelers draft a running back in the middle rounds - a distinct possibility, given the depth of the position in the draft class - they could not immediately count on him being a viable replacement for Bell. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.