It was known for some time that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be without the services of their star running back, Le'Veon Bell, for at least some stretch of the beginning of the regular season. What wasn't known, however, was how long the DUI-related suspension would last. Initially handed down a three-game ban, Bell appealed and awaited the league's ruling. That ruling came down on Tuesday: After settlement talks between the NFL and the NFLPA, the players' union, the suspension has been reduced to two games.
Bell will now miss the Steelers' season opener, scheduled for Thursday, September 10, against the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, and the following week's home opener against the San Francisco 49ers. He is eligible to return to the team on September 21 and will be playing in the team's Week 3 game against the St. Louis Rams.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert issued the following statement via the team's official website:
"As I have stated before, we were disappointed in Le'Veon Bell's actions last August. Le'Veon made a mistake and now he must learn from his mistake and focus on eliminating distractions from his life. We look forward to continuing to work with Le'Veon to try to help him reach his full potential as a person and as a player."
Additionally, the NFL upheld the four-game suspension handed down to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his role in allegedly deflating footballs last year below the league-mandated pressure threshold. Barring legal intervention, the Steelers will not be facing Brady in Week 1. Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount will also be absent for the game, having been handed a one-game suspension for his part in Bell's 2014 DUI arrest, when he was Bell's backup on the Steelers' roster.
Cincinnati Bengals: Head Coach Marvin Lewis Wants to Win Super Bowl, Walk Away
Cincinnati Bengals' head coach Marvin Lewis spoke at the team's unoffically-official pre-training camp media day—otherwise known as the Weenie Roast and Mock Turtle Soupfest—and declared that he has one goal: To lead the Bengals to a Super Bowl championship and then walk away from coaching.
Lewis said, "I want to hand [Bengals team owner] Mike [Brown] the trophy, then just walk away." And Lewis thinks that this is the year that it can happen: "We're good enough, but we have to play good enough."
The Bengals have reached the playoffs each of the last four seasons but have gone one-and-done each time. They possess the NFL's longest postseason win drought, at 24 years and counting, despite having boasted one of the league's most impressive and complete rosters in recent seasons. Lewis has had unprecedented job security for a coach in such a situation, having helmed the Bengals since 2003, something that can be credited to Brown’s complete trust in the coach.
Lewis said of Brown that, "He just wants to win. There's a lot of owners that want to win, but not a lot of owners who spend seven days a week worrying about it. They have other interests. He doesn’t have any other interests." Brown followed that up by saying, "[A Super Bowl victory] would mean a lot. I haven't managed that. It's unfinished work, if you will. It would make a nice entry on my gravestone." And it apparently would also mark the end of Lewis' coaching career, if and when it happens.
Baltimore Ravens: Three Former Ravens Will Serve As Scouting Interns
As part of the NFL's Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship, three former Baltimore Ravens will be spending the next two weeks of training camp with as scouting interns for the team, reports Ryan Mink of the Ravens' official website. The three players are former outside linebacker Jarret Johnson former cornerback Duane Starks and former wide receiver Patrick Williams
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome first offered the job to Johnson at Johnson's NFL retirement ceremony and the player could not refuse: "Hell yeah! How can I miss out on that?” Johnson said to Newsome. "It's a little different, but it's a learning experience. It's fun seeing the other side of the game." As for Starks, "I've always wanted to be a scout. I think Ozzie's been testing me to see if I'm serious or not." Williams, meanwhile, is also serving as an offensive graduate assistant at the University of Colorado, where he attended and played college football.
Johnson is one of the Ravens' top players in the history of the franchise, and played for the team from 2003 until 2011. Starks was in Baltimore from 1998 through 2001, while Williams was on Baltimore's practice squad in 2011. The Nunn-Wooton Fellowship was created by the NFL in January of this year to assist former players who are interested in transitioning to a career in professional scouting.