NFL Reduces Bell's Suspension

The Steelers had Tuesday off but news found it's way into today's SCI.net notebook, topped of course by the good news regarding Le'Veon Bell.

The NFL on Tuesday ruled that Le'Veon Bell will miss two games under suspension instead of the three the league originally imposed on him for possession of marijuana and driving under the influence during the 2014 preseason.

Bell will miss the opener against the New England Patriots and also the second game of the season against the San Francisco 49ers. He's allowed to work with the team until the season begins, and following his suspension will be allowed back to the Pittsburgh Steelers' facility on Monday, Sept. 21 in anticipation of the Sept. 27 game at St. Louis.

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert issued the following statement:

"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."

To that end, Bell tweeted on Tuesday that he has his body fat percentage down to 2.9 and is in the best shape of his life.

BRUUUUUUCE

Ben Roethlisberger was swarmed by media following Monday's practice and was asked whether this could be the best offense in which he's ever worked.

"Potentially," said Roethlisberger. "It's still always about staying healthy."

For this team, that means Roethlisberger must stay healthy, particularly this year. With Bruce Gradkowski on the PUP list with a sore shoulder/arm, the Steelers haven't been getting much production from their backups.

Landry Jones continues to struggle at his third camp, Tajh Boyd has been indecisive, and undrafted rookies Tyler Murphy and Devin Gardner are listed as wide receivers.

Mike Tomlin said Monday he'll consider activating some of those on the PUP list with minor injuries, and Gradkowski wouldn't say if he's one of those under consideration.

"We'll see," he said. "I just had a little strain during the offseason. Nothing serious."

Gradkowski said he'll miss the Aug. 9 Hall of Fame Game in Canton, but said he's "thankful we have a long training camp, so I think there's a long time for that."

Gradkowski added that he's "not worried about it. I'll be out here sooner than later." In the meantime, the aerial "circus" continues. Gradkowski was asked whether the younger quarterbacks are grasping the offense.

"Yeah, they are," he said. "I'm impressed with Tyler. He does a good job. Tajh and them, they work hard. Devin playing receiver -- I told Devin, 'Dude, enjoy it. Have fun. Sometimes I wish I could play receiver and just have fun.' But they're grasping it. I think they're enjoying it."

Q RATING

They call Senquez Golson "Q" but he wishes they were calling him that on the field.

The second-round draft pick is instead on the PUP list with a sore shoulder and is watching fellow rookie cornerback Doran Grant and first-year cornerback Kevin Fogg make plays in practice. Fogg intercepted a pass at the first practice and Grant intercepted a pass Monday that would've been returned 100 yards for a touchdown had it been a game.

"It's frustrating but you figure out ways to still get things done," Golson said. "Really, it's a great opportunity. I'm picking up on the defense faster. At this point all I'm doing is learning. This gives me a lot more time to sit back and be in my playbook. That's the blessing part about it."

Golson said he "can't really remember exactly what happened" to his shoulder late in the spring season. "I just remember after practice it feeling kind of loose. I just rehabbed it over the whole break and then we just made the decision to chill out for right now."

Golson, who turned down a seven-figure contract from the Boston Red Sox out of high school, joked that he hopes to be back in time for the end-of-camp softball game. But said in all seriousness that he's unsure of the specifics of the injury.

"I'm going to find out sooner or later but it's just giving me a lot of pain," he said. "There's really no time frame. Just taking it day by day."

The Steelers return to the St. Vincent College practice fields Wednesday, when they will put on the pads for the first time since their playoff loss.


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