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Too Early To Determine Impact Of Steelers RB Arrests


As seemingly everybody has been made instantly aware, Pittsburgh Steelers running backs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount have been arrested after admitting to possession of marijuana, which reportedly amounted to 20 grams. Bell, behind the wheel of his Camaro, was also charged with DUI for the incident. The latter was taken to the hospital to have blood drawn. Neither are formally charged yet, but charges are imminent.

Before we jump the gun and try to figure out what all this means within minutes of first hearing about it, it’s worth taking a step back and examining the situation rationally.

Of course, the Steelers have not faced a player dealing with a possession charge since Santonio Holmes in 2008. The league never suspended Holmes for that incident, but the organization personally disciplined him in-house by sitting him for the following game, since the offense occurred in-season.

But Holmes had a longer legal history leading up to that arrest, and because of the timing of the incident, it was seen as a distraction. We probably should not automatically assume that the Steelers will take the same action in this situation.

By that same token, it also seems rather unlikely that they would take the dramatic step of releasing either player, even with Blount’s ‘history’.

The league has desired to strengthen their disciplinary policies when it comes to DUI cases for more than a year. Earlier this offseason, the groundwork for an augmentation for the current policy was in place that would institute a mandatory one-game suspension for first offenders, but it doesn’t appear that this has yet been officially implemented.

According to Pro Football Talk, a first-offense DUI currently would typically result in a two-game fine; on the other hand, possession of marijuana would likely trigger a one-game suspension.

Because this has occurred so close to the beginning of the season, it’s hard to say whether or not the league would even reach a disciplinary decision in time to affect this season, so if either Blount or Bell ultimately receive league-mandated discipline, it may not impact them this year.

On the other hand, the NFLPA could take issue if, for example, the Steelers organization wanted to sit both players for the season opener. It’s hard to say so soon after learning of the situation to try to piece together what the consequences will ultimately be.

Should either Bell or Blount face any missed time on the field due to their actions, it would certainly put the Steelers in a tough spot. The only other running back who is a lock to make the roster is rookie Dri Archer, who is as much a wide receiver.

Fullback Will Johnson will also command a roster spot, but if the Steelers enter the season knowing that one of their running backs will be facing discipline in the form of playing time, whether from the organization or the league, it could force their hand to carry an extra running back.

The running back position is thin as it is, because head coach Mike Tomlin was operating under the assumption that his top two backs would be able to shoulder the load by themselves. As a consequence, the front runners for a third traditional running back spot only include names such as Josh Harris, Tauren Poole, and Miguel Maysonet.

I’m sure the Steelers would much rather carry one of these players on the practice squad rather than on the 53-man roster, but they will have little choice if their top two backs do face swift disciplinary action.

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Taylor20

    Great f/u article

  • Paddy

    I think Rooney and especially Tomlin will sit them down for quite a while.

  • Taylor20

    if they do I wonder if they’d be open to trading some ILB depth for a decent fill in RB….happened w/ Philly last year

  • pittsburghjoe

    Initial impact. The ambassador soiled his pants and Tomlin is getting blood pressure medication.

  • steeltown

    Yep, that’s the worst part, we’ll most likely now have to carry an extra RB (or maybe two) on the 53man roster

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Thanks, Bell. You were becoming one of my favorite Steelers. You win rookie of the year, the offseason is going well, and now this. I hope all the vets get in this kid’s ear. He’s got to learn that everything he does affects the team.

  • Taylor20

    Just have Ben hand off to McCullers. lol. They won’t be able to take him down!

  • pat

    Not for a player that would only play 1 game maybe 2 at most

  • steeltown

    What would suck is if now we need to waive McCullers because we need the roster spot

  • Taylor20

    Marshall McFadden wasn’t going to make the team last year…I’m sure not every ILB will make the team this year so why not get something out of them before just dropping one?

  • mrwirez

    Way to go fellas.. 2 weeks before opening day kickoff. Dumbasses.

  • frednash

    Their history!

    And so are we…

  • Rosco

    Did Bell make it to Philly!!

  • rayster

    Ryan Clark was right!
    Where is the discipline Coach Tomlin???
    Sep 07, 2014: Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Choom Gang.

  • Jason Vancil

    Nope.

  • Paddy

    He had a vet in his ear, just the wrong one

  • Paddy

    No he’s getting a blood test in PGH

  • Bob Loblaw

    Hopefully that blood pressure medication isn’t a certain herb that’s known to lower blood pressure.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Ed B. called it the “Cheech and Chong” backfield.

  • http://www.amazon.com/The-Sibyl-Reborn-ebook/dp/B009KNQHSM James P. Kelly

    This is it EXACTLY. They just put someone (or two someones) on the practice squad who should be on the 53. If we lose them on waivers, Bell and Blount are 100% to blame. If I sound miffed, I am. I’ve been following this team and Steelers Depot faithfully all preseason. You’d think some jerks getting paid millions of dollars for playing a game could show a little ‘faithfullness’ to their team and its fandom. Bar nothing…THIS will be Tomlin’s greatest challenge as a coach. Think of it: How does he handle this to keep the team focused, in harmony, and prepared to win? If I’m Troy, Miller, or an older player who hopes to win another SB before he retires…I’m miffed with a capital “P” and two “S”s. At the same time, I’m sure that other idiots will rise to defend them. In my opinion, the Steelers and their fans should have the legal right to sue both players for material damages to a torpedoed season.

  • bustedknuckles

    Beatable charges. Doesn’t excuse the ignorance but still beatable. Pittsburgh norml step up.

  • Eddie Cruz

    The blame is not on the coach. That’s just a lame way to place blame. Both of these guys knew exactly what they were doing, and probably only admitted to it because they would get a free pass. It sucks that this happened but hopefully they do sit out enough to learn there lesson. Things like this are worse than injuries. I wonder how coach Tomlin feels about this availability

  • pittsburghjoe

    How long is a while? Rice got 2 games for wife beating. Irsay got none for about the same offense as Cheech and Chong. So where do you go with this?

  • PA2AK

    The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

  • PA2AK

    Thanks for putting it into perspective Matt. One of those situations that causes an initial knee jerk reaction, but we aren’t likely to know what will happen for some period of time. Certainly a dimwit move on their parts, but sure would be nice if they quit the joke and just legalized it.

  • bustedknuckles

    I beg to differ. Tomlin is responsible for pounding into the heads of the players the importance of discipline on and off of the field and the reverence and respect that should be shown when you are employed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The tomlin era has not been a well oiled football factory.

  • Jason Vancil

    Still won’t be legal to drive under the influence of it.

  • pittsburghjoe

    This just happened, what do you want Tomlin to do? Jeeeze give him a day or so.

  • Jason Vancil

    Like with Noll and Ernie Holmes firing at Helicopters.
    Or Cowher with Carleton Haselrig and Eric Green.

  • Jason Vancil

    What about “their” history?

  • john

    didnt gordon get 2 games reduced from 4 for his 1st offense last year? and is there a difference from testing positive and possession when it comes to suspensions?

  • Matt Manzo

    It’s more likely Mauro than McCullers, I think?

  • Jonny Panic

    You take the overreaction cake. I think you should smoke some weed to calm your nerves.

  • PA2AK

    Gee thanks…

  • steeltown

    Yes I think so to the 2nd part, I think possession has previously been 1 game

  • Jason Vancil

    No problem Buddy.

  • bustedknuckles

    A blood test can only prove that a certain amount of something is in your body. Not the time that it was in your body.

  • steeltown

    Yes of course, either way pending League action, someone could very well get screwed

  • sweetleb

    didn’t bam morris get caught with 35lbs of weed, under coach cowher

  • http://www.sportsrevelation.com Scott

    1) Using drugs that the NFL deems illegal: Irresponsible
    2) Driving while using illegal drugs: Irreprehensible
    3) A big fat suspension and being excommunicated by Steeler Nation: Deserved.
    Hope you get some help Mr. Bell.

  • Yiz

    Blaming the coach for the actions of grown men on their personal time is riduculous. Or does your boss dictate what you do on you personal time? They’re professional athletes, not college students.

  • PA2AK

    Rather he smoke some weed than drive around on legal prescription meds like half the city! Agree, this is pretty dumb and irresponsible. However, #3 is pretty ridiculous as well. I’d love to hear your take on the rest of our storied franchise…we haven’t exactly employed Boy Scouts over the years…yet they are still cheered all over.

  • bustedknuckles

    I’m not placing total blame on tomlin. Just a portion. And I am the boss my man and I love burning it.

  • rayster

    My concern is where HAS the team discipline BEEN?
    There’s the Pouncey stuff too.
    BTW, I say that any pot smoker that does it out driving is a regular smoker. It makes driving dangerous too, yet more poor judgment.

  • hchristi15

    What exactly do you mean by, “Hope you get some help Mr. Bell.”?

  • http://www.sportsrevelation.com Scott

    Not just the Steelers, but all pro sports franchises have too easily looked the other way and let athletes live by a different set of rules. We as fans need to take responsibility and hold these guys to the same standard as the rest of us. We can cast our vote against irresponsible behavior. If enough fans do, the athletes, the owners, and the TV stations will listen.

  • PA2AK

    Let’s hold our breaths…I’ll give you a head start.

  • bustedknuckles

    He was allegedly driving under the influence of herb. Can’t be proven, I believe.

  • Tom

    It was not Gordons first offense. First offense just gets you in the “program” with regular testing.

  • http://www.sportsrevelation.com Scott

    Ok, I’ll keep trying to do my part till I’m blue in the face.

  • bustedknuckles

    They are not just any professional athletes. They are Pittsburgh Steelers. That is my ultimate point. Noll created the standard. Cowher grew up surrounded by that standard. Tomlin came from Tampa.

  • Tom

    I’d rather see the players smoking a little weed for pain relief than gobbling
    legally prescribed pills. At the same time…they know the rules and I am disappointed in them.

  • http://www.sportsrevelation.com Scott

    I mean I wish him the best in life. Smoking pot is no crime, but driving is. Also, letting down a huge fan base who pays his salary speaks to his character. We can give second chances, but it better be earned.

  • bustedknuckles

    All alleged. Don’t go excommunicating just yet. I heard it was the ladies herb.

  • Steel PAul

    Couple thoughts..

    It’s not out of the question that the FO met with Blount before signing him warning him of their feelings on this behavior – see previous history (Eric Green, Foster, S. Holmes, etc.). Could be released.

    Also, the NFL has shown to be random at times with how they dole out discipline. As much as they point to precedent, it seems to not always go that way.

    Finally, should Josh Gordon get his suspension reduced to 8 games, after Ray Rice got a slap on the wrist for domestic violence, the NFL better not make another example of the Steelers here. Too obvious.

  • http://www.sportsrevelation.com Scott

    Good point. We will see what tests show. Still should not put yourself in that position. I know easier said than done, but I would give it try for his salary.

  • Jacob Dixon

    At least Blount didn’t get arrested

  • rayster

    The article says the cop smelled marijuana, found 20gm of marijuana and that Bell was taken to a hospital for blood (level) draw.
    Some states already have “spice” or “K2″ as illegal.
    Urine tests can detect that.

  • http://www.amazon.com/The-Sibyl-Reborn-ebook/dp/B009KNQHSM James P. Kelly

    Really? I tell you what…don’t lose this thread and get back to me after the final cuts. If an running back other than Bell, Blount, Johnson, and Archer make the 53, you tell me who got cut that otherwise would have made the team…because it’s a simple matter of math. With 10 players now allowed on the practice squad, the experts all agree that it would make no sense at all to keep an extra RB on the roster. So if they do, someone else WILL be cut. These guys are self-centered jerks, bottom line.

  • bustedknuckles

    Herb, I’ve been told, stays in your body for longer than a car ride. A urine or blood analysis may show that bell had herb in his body but not the exact moment that it was in his body. I do not believe that a driving under the influence of herb test exists.

  • JAMESH

    One extra spot on the roster could be obtained by placing Landry Jones on the PS. What team would claim him? And if a team does, call it a blessing.

  • JAMESH

    Landry Jones to the PS makes one spot. And besides, by the time the lawyers get done with this, they may not miss any time whatsoever.

  • JAMESH

    Wish I could ” ^ ” this three times.

  • Eddie Cruz

    I agree it is Tomlins job to reinforce what is already a known factor. Don’t smoke weed, it’s against team policy. However comma no matter what degree he pounds it in there head people will still do it. Also I think you are misguided thinking that Tomlin is slacking and these problems didn’t exist for coach cowher.

  • bustedknuckles

    I never said tomlin is slacking. The back to back 8-8 seasons said that. I also never stated that Cowhers or Nolls teams were perfect in regards to this kind of stuff. I am of the opinion that the players coach mentality leads to a more relaxed and carefree environment and that leads to more stupid little problems that become distractions and Rob Steeler Nation of the greatness that I grew up supporting.

  • http://www.sportsrevelation.com Scott

    Really? If they are guilty, they need to pay. This goes for all athletes. Much harder to say this about Steelers. However, if we let athletes live in a world where they do not have to follow rules, then we as fans are to blame. “At the end of the day, if Bell was impaired while driving he could have killed someone. Is playing football that important? Should we let him off to play off football. Priorities?

  • bustedknuckles

    There is no way to tell if he was impaired by herb while driving. And as far as I know, nobody was killed. So if you’d like to reprimand these gentlemen on allegations and what ifs, be my guest. Not how life works for me though. That being said, if being in a car with a lady that has a little weed is a big deal to you, we probably differ on many more issues than this one. But I prefer to stand United in support of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

  • bustedknuckles

    Priorities? One of the biggest priorities in my life is to see the legalization of marijuana in this great country of ours. I would rather not see minorities or football players or anyone persecuted over a natural remedy to multiple afflictions. It is of equal importance to me as the Pittsburgh Steelers. And I love me some Pittsburgh.

  • bustedknuckles

    Would you want them to pay if they were riding around on pain pills?

  • SteelCitysFinest

    I don’t even care that they smoke pot but I am angry they got caught. The Steelers might get lucky in terms of discipline due to the timing of it and the whole Ray Rice fiasco.

  • lookwhoitis

    u gatta cough to get off…

  • lookwhoitis

    it’s gonna happen!

  • lookwhoitis

    swab test can tell if you’ve recently smoked. where can i buy some stock in that company?

  • lookwhoitis

    makes sense

  • bustedknuckles

    I’m no lawyer but recently smoked does not equate to under the influence behind the wheel beyond a reasonable doubt. But I’m just a dumb herb smoking construction worker. What do I know?

  • Bill

    Just friggin’ great! True genius.

  • Brantley Stockton

    I know it will cost a few games, but this story makes me happy. The NFL has become a business first and foremost, and these guys are forced to be model employees. The league isn’t as fun anymore. The players are broken records.

    This story is about a making friends with the new guy, and taking a smoke n ride together. It’s a normal thing that real people do and I’m glad we’ve got some real people.

  • Bvrsty

    I remember right after signing blount, I followed him on twitter, and the first tweet that I read had a pic of him wearing socks with marijuana leaves printed on them… oh boy, i thought (and unfollowed him, not for the pic per se, but his timeline was just ‘homeboy talk’, not anything of interest to me)

    Ugh. This is terrible news, maybe the league/team can put these two in a program to make sure they keep off the weed.

  • WIINGY

    At least he isn’t beating women. It will be a good first warning. No way he gets suspended on a first offense after the Ray Rice debacle.

  • Michael Pearce

    Very disappointing day to be a Steeler fan. Because of this we may have to keep one of these RB’s that we were going to cut and then cut a player that we really need. Hopefully its not a defensive lineman.

  • Zach

    the loser here is Blount — in particular for the bad influence of Bell. I wouldn’t be surprised if the steelers release him.

  • treeher

    I’m trying to make sense of your comments. You’re happy that our top two RBs were stupid enough to smoke weed in the car just prior to a game and will totally disrupt the team, be suspended for at least one game, lose confidence of the coaches and fans, be subject to random substance screening … and you’re happy that they are “normal guys?” Normal guys have more respect for their teammates, their coaches, and the fans.

  • Zach

    I think this means we will get an experienced RB off the street after the last round of team cuts — or trade one of our LBs (So’oto, Hojo) for a RB out there.

  • treeher

    I would support releasing Blount.

  • westcoasteeler

    Can I get an Amen.

  • SteelCitysFinest

    Well you convinced me, I am now 100% certain Bell is a boyscout and never smoked pot in his entire life prior to meeting Blount.

  • Brantley Stockton

    You got it. It has nothing to do with respect. The NFL is stuck in the ’50s and needs to take a look at the world as it is today. I’m glad these guys are living their lives. It might start a conversation about the hypocrisy of the NFL drug policy

  • Superdriller316

    You can’t have a standard when the league, the NFLPA, players, and fans condone illegal activity like this. The team should suspend both for 4 games and set a new standard. Then the next time this crap happens you can cut them.

  • treeher

    Why do you make this about the NFL? It’s about two stupid, rich, spoiled kids who have no respect for their employers or fans.

  • Zach

    lol he did what he did anyway. But if you are a vet, you don’t wanna be caught with a 2nd year player that you are supposedly mentoring. Bell will get a pass but be on a short leash. At least I’m confident that Keisel won’t be taking Tuitt or McCullers to smoke Pot the day before traveling to a game!

  • AJP

    Suspend Bell game 1, have Blount “appeal” and then suspend him game 2.
    They do the tons of community service, get scared they could lose their $$$- and move on.

  • Geoff Cordner

    Does it matter if the DUI was pot instead of alcohol? Could that lessen the suspensions?

  • rayster

    The charge was DUI marijuana and PA state laws and level/impairment criteria do exist.

  • walter mason

    I dont think Goodell cares whether or not they beat the charges in court.

  • walter mason

    Bag on the seat, a cops testimony that he smelled marijuana, a roach in the ashtray?, blood test, it doesnt look good. Goodell can convict.

  • walter mason

    Yea the players could smoke at halftime!

  • CodeNameJerk

    I wonder if failing a drug test that proves you were DUI is the same as failing a league drug test. Really disappointed in these guys.

  • mlc43

    I’m amazed at the hypocrisy of some Steelers fans. While I have absolutely no problem with people that want to smoke pot every now and then, I do have a problem with people that drive while doing it!!!! While there is no test, that I’m aware of, to tell if he was actually high while driving, the implication is that he was. I don’t want to see the kid lose his career but there does need to be some discipline enforced. Again, we need to wait until all the facts come out, but lets not turn into a fanbase who values winning over doing what’s right.

  • joed32

    I thought that the extra long snapper would take that spot?

  • joed32

    He can’t be with them in their free time anymore than your boss could follow you around when you’re not working.

  • http://www.sportsrevelation.com Scott

    I think we are actually on same page in a lot of ways. I too feel that marijuana should be be legalized. That just makes all the sense in the world to me. I am also on a quest to show fans that we can improve sports culture by holding athletes/owners/and television networks responsible. If we let them live with a separate set of rules, we are essentially promoting their actions. Bell and Blount at the very least let us all down by breaking the current rules. We just can’t let them slide. Good input al the way around.

  • http://www.sportsrevelation.com Scott

    If you want to support both the Steelers and the cause to legalize marijuana you will hold people responsible for their actions.

  • steeltown

    Not sure why everyone is blaming Blount for this, like Bell isn’t a grown man who makes his own decisions.

  • steeltown

    He might, possession and DUI should warrant a suspension

  • Nolrog

    They could place Landry Jones on the PUP list, which would be fitting.

  • Nolrog

    Oh no, you didn’t go “they’re” did you?!

  • Mark

    This most recent disgrace is just a sign of the times for the Steelers… I hope BOTH Blount and Bell get the Holmes treatment. If Tomlin doesn’t react correctly, his already shaky credibility is down the toilet (like this season is, due to these two morons).

  • Mark

    TOTALLY AGREE.

  • Mark

    On a funny note. LeGarrette “Blunt”.. HAHA, Loser. Hope your career is finally over. Bell dumba$$ too.

  • joed32

    I can’t find any history with Blount and pot at all. The Holmes treatment came with his second offense when he was suspended for 4 games.

  • bustedknuckles

    Absolutely. Although I support legalization, I do not condone stupidity. But we all must step back and realize that these are allegations. Also knowing what I know about the substance in question, I believe we should all gear down with the pitchfork and torches over ball players from our favorite team allegedly smoking a doobie. Marijuana is much safer than the pain medications that these guys will be forced to guzzle in a few months. I say western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the nfl should take this moment in history to open up the discussion on natural alternatives to pain relief and push this movement forward. It’s coming anyway. Be proactive. Besides, how many fans would want them suspended if they were driving away from the practice facilities on Percocet????????? Zero is the answer. It happens daily, I’m sure. The pain pills which do not have a stigma attached to them, are acceptable but Marijuana is not. C’mon man. Ganja never ever hurt anyone. Never. Ever.

  • Mark

    I wasn’t referencing number of offenses. Blount and Bell need to be removed from the team.

  • Taylor20

    …or maybe Landry could drop off…

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