Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is still suspended, but the Steelers can expect him back a week earlier.
Bell’s four-game suspension for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy has been reduced to three games, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Bell will be eligible to return for Pittsburgh’s Week 4 tilt against the Kansas City Chiefs. According to Mike Garafolo, the reduction was part of a settlement between the NFL and NFLPA. The other aspect of the settlement is that Bell remains in the same stage of the substance-abuse program, which means his next suspension would be only four games, rather than 10.
It’s a slight win for the Steelers and their prolific running back, but it’s far from a perfect scenario. Bell was suspended in July for missing a mandatory drug test. It’s the second suspension of his four-year career, as the talented tailback was suspended two games last season for his first violation of the substance abuse policy.
Bell has missed 13 games during his career due to suspension and injuries. His 2015 season was ended by a torn MCL sustained in November.
Veteran tailback DeAngelo Williams is expected to take the bulk of the carries in Bell’s absence. Williams fared rather well while replacing Bell last season, rushing for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns in his 10th professional season.