Mike Tomlin Says Team Still Could Punish Le’Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount Internally

While it might take a while for the league to get around to handing down discipline to Pittsburgh Steelers running backs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount following them both being caught in possession of marijuana during a traffic stop last Wednesday in Ross Township, the team can still take it upon themselves to handle it internally in the meantime.

According to a Monday report by Scott Brown of ESPN.com, head coach Mike Tomlin stated that a team suspension for both of the running backs is still currently on the table.

It’s hard to imagine that Tomlin would sit both Bell and Blount down in the same week as that would leave the team with only rookie running back Dri Archer and potentially one other unknown running back to carry the load in a game. Tomlin could, however, sit one down one week and the other down the following week.

In 2008, Tomlin suspended wide receiver Santonio Holmes for a regular-season game against the New York Giants after police charged the former first-round draft pick with possessing a small amount of marijuana, so there is some precedent here.

To add to Brown’s report, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted Monday on Twitter that Tomlin said if the team does ultimately decide to discipline Bell and Bount, they will do so internally and not make it known publicly, so make of that what you will until it’s further clarified.

We will have to wait and see if Tomlin addresses this more during his Tuesday press conference, but both Bell and Blount have certainly now been put on notice that the team could possibly take action against both of them before the league does.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steelster

    Not public, why? They should be suspended. If not it sends a poor message to the fans, teammates and the rest of the nfl.

  • steeltown

    I think Bouchette misspoke, I think what Tomlin means is IF they decide to do anything we (fans, media) on the outside looking in wont know till closer to game time, like deactivation (suspend) week 1

  • cencalsteeler

    Stephon Houston should be Blounts replacement next year (I see Blount playing this year for the Steelers only). Blount will serve his suspension next year as a Cardinal. That gives Colbert and Co. one year to prepare for Bell’s 1-2 game suspension.
    I’d personally sit both Bell and Blount together in week 1. Get it over with. It’s the Browns. We lose, we chalk it up to being, well, week 1. Tomlin needs to take command here whether we like it or not. He needs to make an example out of them that the Steelers are a class act and don’t condone these type of black eyes given to the organization. In the words of our own coach, “The standard is the standard” and “next man up”. He needs to live by his words or they won’t mean much.

  • srdan

    team punishment is funny business because teh NFLPA has a lot of ground to stand on when the league doesn’t seem the foul as being egregious enough to suspend.

  • srdan

    How much of Thursdays performance was due to this nonsense? Any?

  • steeltown

    I was sort of thinking the same thing about Blount, if he is indeed suspended by the League at the start of next season he might just be released… unless he has a breakout ’14 season

  • PA2AK

    I don’t buy the ‘Steelers are a class act’ line. No offense to those that do. Of course, I could be wrong (won’t be the first or last time), but I just don’t see it. Not from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, or now. Sure they have employed some boyscouts from time to time and those guys are certainly fan favorites, but let’s not ignore the list of crimes many players have committed over the years and many more they were never caught for. The way I see it, they make a choice on how big of a distraction it was vs. how much that player can help the team win. After all, that is the real standard for the Steelers….Win.

  • PA2AK

    Seems like it…but hard to tell and in some cases doesn’t make sense. How distracted were the playcallers? The defense in general?

  • steelster

    Blount scored 4 touchdowns in a playoff game last year. He has broken out and proven himself and looked better than bell thursday night.

  • cencalsteeler

    Sorry PA2AK, I greatly disagree. If there was some sort of magic pill to predetermine if you drafted a bad apple, then I’d say you have a legitimate claim. But, there is not. Every team has bad apples, it’s how you go about handling the bad apple that determines your reputation and your worth amongst your peers and society in general.

  • PA2AK

    I don’t disagree with you there…I just don’t really see a major difference from just about every team out there when it comes to how they handle players with disciplinary issues. I will say the Steelers rarely hire FA’s with a checkered past, but as for getting rid of their own or punishing their own after crossing lines….no real difference, IMO.

  • cencalsteeler

    If you watch Blount closely, he does not like running to his left. Every time he hits his hole, he bounces things back out to the right. I do think he is a hard nosed runner. But, if I picked up on his tendancies, don’t you think coaches around the league will to?

  • PA2AK

    I agree he looked better Thursday. However, Bell has a much better outlook. Being a dummy and driving under the influence before the game aside….he has a bright future. His instincts, patience, and versatility are well beyond Blounts, imo.

  • steelster

    Some of his biggest runs last year were on the left side. He was cutting back because he didn’t have a whole to run through.

  • steeltown

    I more meant breakout for ‘us’ this year

  • NW86

    That’s possible I guess. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time Douchette “misspoke”.

  • ApexSteel

    I’m glad you don’t make decisions then…

  • cencalsteeler

    I just went back and looked at youtube- LeGarrette Blount highlights Tampa Bay and highlights Beast Mode. I welcome you to look as well. Then, if that doesn’t sell you on him running to the right rewatch the Eagles game.

  • ApexSteel

    If any of it was that’s more of a knock on the team as a whole than on Bell and Blount. If that leads to the first defense giving up 31 points and the first offense barely scoring any then we’re screwed if any of them have any trouble in their private lives.

  • R1ddl3_0f_$t33l

    I think it is safe to assume that their recent arrest was what most of the players were whispering about leading up to the game, instead of talking about what they planned to do on the field.
    Goes to show just how much damage a lockerroom “cancer” or repetitive distraction can be on a team’s morale and readiness.

  • walter mason

    I dont know what to think anymore. If even 50 percent of the Steelers are stoners, like has been suggested, it could split up the team as they take sides and cause a huge distraction. I just dont think that high of a percentage will come forward with any support for what these 2 players did.

  • R1ddl3_0f_$t33l

    The NFL will impose its own breed of punishment in time. Tomlin probably does not want this thing to become any more of a distraction than it already has been.

  • NinjaMountie

    I don’t know. If they are upset that they got caught and caused a media distraction, I can understand that. If they are going to get upset just because people smoke pot, well, that’s a bit stupid. As long as it doesn’t cause a distraction it isn’t that big of deal.

  • walter mason

    I dont think its stupid. As far as we know with some players it could be habitual to smoke before or during games or at team meetings, driving around trying to score, hiding it on the plane, getting arrested, its all a distraction,

  • NinjaMountie

    That would be a distraction. I could understand that, though, I highly doubt they are doing bong hits in the locker room. What they do at home is up to them.

  • walter mason

    Im going to go out on a limb and surmise that he may have purchased an ounce because he wanted to bring it with him to Philly. Dont forget illegal drug users are highly adept at hiding it. You would not believe the places I used.

  • NinjaMountie

    I wouldn’t know. I wasn’t there. I’m not big on suppositions. That could very well be true or they could have been buying it for when they got back. It’s all speculation.

  • walter mason

    True and I shouldnt speculate. But where do you draw the line? The standard is the standard.

  • walter mason

    agreed

  • walter mason

    I notice the stoners of this forum supported their actions as no big deal and the non-users did not. I would imagine the same split would occur on the team.

  • steelster

    The real issue is that they broke the law. I’m a non user and have never been high but i’m all for making it legal.

  • John Smathers

    Why so secretive? Sounds like they will be hand-washing jocks for a month.

  • 2443scott

    one way or another it hurt the team and will till its settled if it goes all season thats all that will be talked about by the media …..if they both sit it will hurt the team and if one sits then the other it still hurts the team …..but its the less punishment to the team if one then the other sits …but do you do it in the first 2 games and put your self behind the eight ball to starting the season off ….what if one got hurt in first game then you cant make the other sit ….its a mess any way you look at it ..and those 2 are the ones who put the team in it …..maybe bring in a vet for game 1 and sit both them and get it over with is the answer but then you more then likely kick off a guy from the 53 who would made the team …..

  • walter mason

    The issue for me is that they were getting stoned with an illegal substance when they should be preparing for a game and it may be habitual. It seems the only issue you have is they got caught.

  • walter mason

    They should have sat during preseason and not miss any games that count. Tomlin also needs to decide if getting stoned before games or meetings is an acceptable behavior. If not, they (Cheech and Chong) owe the team an apology. If its acceptable I owe everyone here an apology.

  • steelster

    so I should go out and get stoned and then I would make better decisions? I have many issues with what they did. It was stupid and selfish. I drink, does that make me a expert on beer. ( I am by the way).

  • walter mason

    You just said quote “the real issue is they broke the law.” Make up your mind.

  • Weiss Chad

    Lmao what’s he gonna do make bell play all sixteen games maybe even more lol.If one of them back ups wanna play a lot on Thursday go get a bag of weed that should work.lol

  • Kevin Artis

    I think it would of been a better statement if he would of made them stay in Pittsburgh during the eagles game.

  • steelster

    I live in oregon and that has a lot to do with it. It looks like we are the 3rd state where it’s going to be legal come this november. I was against it for many years but now have changed my mind. Yes it may be habitual like you said but so are many things. I think it comes down to personality type. People will.always find a way to escape and so wlll nfl players.

  • Steelers12328882

    I totally get what you’re saying about suspending them at the same time. Doing it separately kinda defeats the whole purpose of setting an example.

  • NinjaMountie

    I used to smoke pot, though it was a long time ago in college. I don’t think this makes me more or less qualified to have an opinion. I don’t have a problem with them if they chose to smoke pot. I have an issue with the DUI, that’s just stupid. I have an issue that they got caught and caused a distraction for the team. I don’t know anything other than that. I don’t know how or when they smoke so I’m unable to speculate any further. If they are high during games or practice, then that is a problem. If they are doing it after games and practices…it’s not anyone’s business.
    I’m not a stoner, don’t know if you could ever have considered me one even when I did it. That being said, I would rather people smoke pot than to drink.

  • Dan

    I would think Bell as the driver will be suspended at least a game. I think if the team decides to impose the suspension, they should thoroughly “investigate” until week #3 after the first to div games are over then suspend in week #3 when we play an NFC opponunt.

  • Leon Mcnair

    All these players smoke weed

  • Leon Mcnair

    They won’t release him and why would he be suspended they are first time offenders

  • Louis Goetz

    It also wouldn’t be the first time the Steelers didn’t suspend someone for getting in trouble. James Harrison (domestic violence), Hines Ward (DUI), and Marvel Smith (marijuana possession) were never suspended after they got in trouble.

  • Louis Goetz

    Under the new CBA, there is no suspension for a 1st time DUI, but there is a mandatory one game suspension for possession of marijuana. Seems kinda backwards don’t ya think? How often has smoking weed resulted in death or maiming, as opposed to DUI?

  • Louis Goetz

    What did the Steelers organization do when James Harrison was arrested for domestic violence? What happened when Hines Ward was arrested for DUI? How about when Marvel Smith was busted for pot? Hell, Ernie Holmes shot at a police helicopter and didn’t miss any games. I want the organization to be above reproach, as well, but it simply isn’t. The front office doesn’t treat everyone like Cedric Wilson or Chris Rainey. Everyone’s treatment is commensurate with his value to the team. if you win games they’ll put up with you and keep quiet. If you can’t, they’ll publicly throw you to the street.

  • walter mason

    Add Saunders to the Wilson/Rainey list

  • Louis Goetz

    In relevant part, section II (a) of the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse specifically states that “… players convicted of or admitting to a violation of law … relating to use, possession, acquisition, sale, or distribution of substances of abuse other than alcohol, or conspiring to do so, are subject to appropriate discipline AS DETERMINED BY THE COMMISSIONER.”
    I know everyone is talking about how the Steelers should set an example and this and that, but when it comes to substance abuse, discipline is determined by the league and the league only.

  • walter mason

    I understand being from Oregon.

  • walter mason

    I understand what you are saying. But if they were caught smoking AFTER a win, I would not have cared so much. It just seemed to me bad timing as if they werent taking the trip to Phily game seriously. Im also worried that we may be seeing just the tip of the iceberg. Im worried about my team. Im worried about my players. The was a reason they were smoking in the car. They were trying to hide it.

  • walter mason

    absolutely.

  • Brendon Glad

    I would cut Blount. He simply is not a good enough player to be a problem off the field. Veteran backup RB’s are a dime a dozen…especially after the second cut down day. But that’s just me. I doubt they will…but it still could happen if an attractive option gets waived in the next 2 weeks

  • steelster

    A 4.7 career rushing average for a backup rb is probably the highest in the nfl for a backup.

  • Ryan Roberts

    what shocks me most is that the most responses to the articles on Steelerdepot are on the updates for this mishap- isnt anyone interested in football anymore or do we all just want to be politicians?

  • Dave Bradley

    Tomlin’s punishment- no ping pong for 2 weeks

  • 2443scott

    the problem with that is sitting in preseason …goodel wouldnt except that and still suspend them …..question then would be if steelers are set to make the playoffs would he do it then which would kill them in the play offs …you cant trust goodel to put it off till next year …one because they both already confessed to doing it…so this will get settled in courts quickly …..and 2 he dont like the steelers any way…

  • Jim McCarley

    I need some info, if anyone can help me. Were they smoking weed when the officer stopped them? Was there a joint present or just a bag of weed? I know that the officer claimed to smell weed coming from vehicle, but did he find a joint? Do we know what the blood test read on Bell? Can they tell if he was actually high at the time……Weed doesn’t usually stay with you for two hours……by then you are either asleep or have eaten enough to be straight again. Most anyone would blow an illegal amount of alcohol after a night of drinking but aren’t still drunk, maybe hungover but not drunk……so, can a good lawyer get Bell out of the DUI…? I think the weed laws are outdated and BS anyway….Were any other vehicles at the intersection at the time, could the smell have been coming from another vehicle and not Bell’s? Now I don’t condone breaking league rules, but much like weed laws, many of the league rules are outdated……a player can be a stone cold drunk and that;s okay but if he smokes a little weed to unwind and relax, then he gets the hammer…really? I also don’t condone a player being high on game day or before a practice or anytime team functions are going on, so I guess BOTH guys need some discipline, and put a tighter leash on Blount. he seems to be the cause ……

  • joed32

    Lat year our 10 cent backup was Felix Jones. Blount is a first time offender.

  • steeltown

    Not saying they will, just that it’s a possibility, especially if Blount struggles to produce this season (which I don’t anticipate happening)

  • steeltown

    Seriously?? Im not privy to all of the legal aspects of the new CBA, but that sounds a$$ backwards

  • Taylor20

    I have those exact same questions Jim. Since they all admitted to it, I wonder if when their day in court comes that they have a plan with who will take the posession charge. Lets not forget there was a female in the car as well. The story seems strange from the begining with the reason the officer pulled them over….