As Jarrett Bell
of USA Today
first reported Tuesday, Le'Veon Bell's
three-game suspension has been reduced to two games as a result of settlement conversations following the running back’s appeal.
Bell was arrested last August and charged with DUI and marijuana possession.
Under current NFL policy, first-time DUI offenders are subject to a two-game suspension and the marijuana possession likely led to the additional game. Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount was with a member of the Steelers and in Bell’s at the time of the arrest and was suspended one game for his marijuana possession charge.
Bell will miss the opener against the Patriots and a September 20 game against the 49ers before becoming eligible to return in Week 3 against the Rams.
Last season, Bell was second in the NFL in rushing yards (1,361) and receptions for a running back (83).
For what it's worth, ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler reports that Bell looked noticeably explosive when the Steelers opened camp Sunday.
He says he's in the best shape of his life, and Fowler suggests the running back is not lying.
Bell's right knee injury, which kept him out of a playoff loss to Baltimore, still needs additional pre-practice stretching and isn't completely the same as the left one. But this is the best Bell has felt in a while, he said. If he had to play today, he could.
According to Fowler, that might be why head coach Mike Tomlin is challenging free agent signing DeAngelo Williams by saying Bell will run with the first team, even though Williams needs enough to work to be ready to start Week 1 against New England.
That won't be an issue if the first practice is any indication, Williams said. He "absolutely" got enough work as the backup because the offense ran dozens of plays throughout the day. Williams even commented on his feet hurting after the session.
"I don’t think there is any special emphasis on me getting any more or less carries," Williams said. "It goes by the scope of the day. And I don’t expect anything to be different (from today)."
Williams met Tomlin's challenge to drop below 220 pounds, closer to his listed playing weight of 215. Williams indicated Sunday that he's done that.
"I actually look better than minicamp and OTAs," Williams said.
The better news, however, lies in the fact we'll see less of Williams to open the season than we expected. Although most still have him in their top 5 even with the three-game suspension, look for Bell to move back up the rankings just a smidge in the wake of this news.