Tomlin Sends Another Message To Bell, Blount On The Field

During his press conference earlier this week, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that any further in-house punishment due to running backs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount would not be made known publically a week after a very clear on-field message was sent, keeping the backs on the field well into the fourth quarter.

Tell me if you didn’t happen to notice that 5’8”, 170 pound rookie running back Dri Archer started in the backfield for the Steelers last game, because I’m pretty sure everybody else did, including Bell and Blount.

The one-two punch, of course, was arrested together last week and charged with possession of marijuana on the eve of the team’s third preseason game. Blount was released and boarded the team plane, but Bell was detained longer due to suspicion of DUI, and had to charter his own way to Philadelphia to get to the game.

A week ago, the two combined to log 51 snaps, out of 57 total offensive plays for the Steelers. The starters left after 45 plays.

This week? Archer logged more snaps than both of them combined, 13 to 11. They combined for five carries totaling 15 yards, while Archer got two carries for eight yards.

But before either Bell or Blount got an opportunity to run the ball, Tomlin decided that fullback Will Johnson could use a rep as a ball carrier. On the third play of the game.

Blount only entered the game on the last play of the opening series to attempt to convert a fourth and two, which is an area that the team has not gotten many opportunities to work on during the preseason with their new short-yardage option.

Bell’s first snap? It came at second and 19 from the Steelers’ own one-yard line after Landry Jones took a deer-in-the-headlights sack on first down.

Johnson was in the backfield on first down, but the coaches decided it would be prudent to put a more legitimate defensive threat in the backfield given the pressure of the situation.

Bell finished off that series and played the first few snaps of the next, and that was it for the night. Blount wasn’t too far behind him.

The argument could be made that the Steelers just wanted to see more of Archer in a more traditional role, but I have a hard time believing that these actions weren’t meant for the eyes of Bell and Blount to see.

Tomlin did say that any further punishment would not be publically disclosed, and that presumably means that said punishments won’t be obvious. Let’s hope that’s the case when the regular season rolls around, from a football perspective.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • 2443scott

    you sound right on …..in 3rd preseason thats all you saw them two out there all game then this game it was like where did they go and archer did fine on his own and he got a few good licks on him and he poped right up …so if tomlin decides to sit one then the other i think archer will do just fine as a runner/wr till they both done there time on the steeler side line chain gang…they can pick weeds along the sideline grandstand…

  • Jim McCarley

    I was having this discussion with my wife last night and I was trying to explain to her the team’s side of it, versus the “right” side of it. She contended that until people (including athletes) get punished the same as “real” people do, then they will not learn. I agreed, but I tried to explain to her that when a team is involved, then it is different. It’s one thing to do the right thing when one person is involved and no one else is affected, but an entirely different thing when many other innocent people will be affected by the punishment….I never could get her to understand, but maybe that’s the beauty of it. She watches the games with me and enjoys it, but she does not bleed B&G or any other sports team’s colors, so she has somewhat of an outsider’s view on it…maybe even a more logical view than myself…She contended that Ben Roethlisberger could not have gotten away with what he did if not because of who he was….I explained that he did not get away with anything, and was punished by the NFL. She proclaimed that the average guy would have been charged with rape or sexual abuse. I contended that he was involved BECAUSE of who he was and if he had of been some regular college kid , there would have not been a case to begin with…So, do these athletes get involved because of who they are or do they get away with things because of who they are???? Are they targets…sure. Does this give them the right to take advantage of their status with the ladies, no. But, should they be treated differently than the average Joe, no. The group of young ladies that followed Ben and his crew around to three separate bars and asked to join them in a back room might not have done so if Ben was not BEN….Some say that the girls didn’t even know who he was….really??? So no one in the bars knew who BEN was …no one told the girls that he was a 100 million dollar pro quarterback…and single….really?? You get my point, right?

    …….but back to the Blunt Brothers….I think they should wait until the proper authorities , the police and the NFL, make their decisions and THEN the team should do something……OR…simply fine them both a game check…..or more. Sitting them and hurting the team will do little to them, imo. Take some bling away from them and maybe even separate them like you would KIDS…..tell them they can’t hang out off the field……something other than anything that would hurt the team…imo. Even if that’s not the “logical” view. Maybe sit them in a room and make them watch Cheech and Chong movies all day long would help….who knows, THAT might just do it..!

  • StrengthOfVictory

    My only concern is that the team doesn’t let this incident hang over these boys’ heads for long. You discipline them, but after, you make it clear they’re part of the team. Having a clear head to do their jobs is key. So is having the team and coaches behind them.

  • Steelers@2010

    Very well written; I agree to disagree though. I agree, those two are a part of the team, and the rest of the team shouldn’t be punished because of those two idiots. However, what happened to the standard being the standard in Pittsburgh? There was a time when the Steelers Organization was viewed as one of the best in the NFL when it came to being model citizens off the field as well as on the field. Whatever happened to being a role model for our kids today? These guys are paid to be professionals on the field as well as off the field. Did you hear the statement Bell gave to the Police? Talk about a real idiot!!

  • Doug Sawyer

    this whole issue is overblown in 2 states this is as legal as drinking and the trend nation wide is moving that direction…acting as if a large portion of athletes have not smoked weed is ridiculous and it’s not as if they showed up to work high…so what they do in their time is irrelevant to the team

  • 2443scott

    i believe the standard disapeared when players got more say in punishment ….now the cba has alot to do with how teams can fine or punish players on top of what the nfl can also do …i think thats a big part of the nfl of today ….the players dont want to over practice or have this or that during training and camps any more …plus if a team does do something out side of the cba the players union will now sue teams …..so the nfl past is not the standard any more …now its only how rules where changed for a few and how the rules were changed to a passing league …and to cba rules and the players union and the rules of today ……this is why the nfl is going down the road and there is no way back till the league hits flag football and the league becomes like a weekend warrior sport…

  • Jacque Strappe

    The rules have been collectively bargained by the very union they pay dues to. I don’t disagree with your position on weed, but they knew the rules, yet at the detriment of the organization, broke them anyway. Stupid and selfish come to mind. Anyone else in this situation on the team? Anyone else put the team in jeopardy because they broke a very easy to understand rule?

  • treeher

    Matt, this was the final preseason game. By your logic, Ben was punished even more by not playing at all. You’ve been writing a bunch of great articles, but this one is a reach.

  • treeher

    OK, treat them like anyone else. So, I work in an auto repair shop. I get stopped for having weed in my car and am tested for DUI. Do I lose my job? No. Do I get a salary cut? No. Does my employer fine me or suspend me without pay for a week? No. Are there articles written about me in the newspaper and blogs? No. Do I become a Twitter celebrity? No. Let’s get real. They will not be “punished” the same as regular people. Ultimately, their stupidity will result in far more punishment.

  • Steve

    If you Drink and Drive you get a DUI with a fine, which is what Bell got.

  • Steelers58

    Did u really say they are role models for kids. Seriously you want athletes to be role models.
    If u have kids, how about you be there role model instead. This way u can teach them right from wrong and even lead by example. And when the supposedly role model athlete messes up , you can use that as an example of what not to do.
    Just by your kid a steeler jersey without a name and number
    Tell him or her that u should just root for the steelers

  • Steelers58

    Ok Doug. So where is the line drawn between smoking weed and driving while impaired. Like drinking a beer , I could operate a vehicle if I had a beer, but if I drink ten beers my ability is impaired. So the question becomes, in those states that smoking weed is legal, at what point does it impair the ability to drive a car. One joint, two joints I could go on and on

  • Steelers58

    Who cares if these two guys get suspended and it hurts the team. They broke the law and should go in front of the judge. I don’t care if it hurts the other 51 members of the team. Too bad. I wonder if they got into an accident and killed a little girl, would it be a different conversation

  • Milliken Steeler

    Ummm actually. Here in COLORADO also. You can get fired and people are fired everyday.

    Even on a promotion, they might choose to piss test you and instead of being promoted, you’re fired.

    The auto insurance companies here have way to much power. They can dictate to the employer who they can hire out here depending on their driving record and also, they can tell an employer they wont cover an existing employee after an incident and they will get fired.

    it happens quite often actually.

  • Ryan Roberts

    he wasnt smoking when they arrested him. he had smoked two hours before driving according to Bells statement written in the report. Therefore he was not high when he was driving. A weed high is not the same as a drunk.

  • Doug Sawyer

    that’s not even the issue…I know of no other job unless the public’s safety depends on you where you are punished by your job for committing a misdemeanor while not at work…

    how many more states decriminalize or legalize weed before we get the league to change it’s position on this?…it’s something the NFL needs to get out of litigating on a double standard that the public does not support

  • Doug Sawyer

    I think a good portion of these players have smoked all the way through college and see it happen with their teammates in the pros
    I think they were unlucky…that’s it …not selfish…just doing what a good majority of society do and that is maintain their job and career while being the occasional smoker…Dr’s Politicians Police
    Military Lawyers…on and on and on have participated or continue to use…this issue is stupid…if they can prove Bell was doing something wrong to even warrant the stop…much less..prove the level of thc in his system was enough to warrant a DUI…I’d be surprised…and if so it’s still a misdemeanor committed away from his job…not the leagues issue …we have more than enough evidence that the commissioner is in no way a valid judge and
    jury about player conduct and punishment

  • Jacque Strappe

    Someone was smoking because the odor was the red flag that got them pulled in the first place. Maybe it was the chick. But someone was tokin

  • Jacque Strappe

    You’re 100% wrong on this point. Folks are drug tested in various jobs. Tox screens show what they show. If your contract outlines what is illegal yet you CHOOSE to use those anyway, regardless of where you are in violation. You make it sound like he’s only in violation if he’s hittin the bong while on the sideline. Come on Doug. He knew the rules. Someone in the car was smokin or they don’t get stopped. And like it or not it’s an illegal drug as it stands, even apart from the CBA and it’s drug policy.

  • Kevin Artis

    I don’t see this as punishment. Punishment would have been starting them with all those backups and making them play at least a half.

  • rayster

    Ch–children…don’t do drugs….because…drugs are bad….Okay? So, don’t be bad by taking drugs. Okay? Smokin’s bad, okay? Mari-ju-wana is bad.

  • Steelers@2010

    They are Role Models by default. To be quite honest with you, most of these guys could care less about that as well. It’s sad, but I truly believe it’s true. By Default they are role models because so many kids look up to them. Too bad they don’t respect that.

  • Jim McCarley

    Where i worked for 20 year, there was a no drug policy for insurance purposes…..but, if you got busted off the job, you got fired…..simply because if you did drugs off the job, you would likely test positive on a drug test for work…..not fair maybe, but their policy, just like the NFL has policies…

  • Jim McCarley

    The NFL has guidelines for first time offenders and multiple offenders, right? So , why should it be the team’s responsibility to punish the guys? Let the law and the NFL do what they will do and go from there….I made a point before that the team could maybe fine them and that would be okay , but they should not sit them on the bench because that will do nothing…I still believe that. Sitting them would do nothing except punish the team. The humiliation of being plastered all over the sports pages and reported on the news did more than you might imagine…..and what do we know about what is going on in the locker room and up front in the offices of the Rooneys, Colbert and Tomlin..? We as fans want to be the best franchise in the NFL and hold a higher standard yet we rarely see fans talk about the standard off the field as much as they do the standard on the field. We want to win, but we want to be choirboys as well……good luck with that.