Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell reportedly missed drug test, faces suspension

SCI publisher Jim Wexell might be the only reporter in town shocked by the report, and he reacts accordingly

I guess I'm the wrong person to ask.

I guess I'm the last person who believed in the hard-working, strong-character jock.

I guess no one will ever ask me again.

The words to my disbelieving eyes this morning were that Le'Veon Bell is facing a four-game suspension for skipping a drug test.

Dan Graziano of ESPN is reporting it, and it supports the rumor from this past spring that Bell would be suspended a second time.

That rumor is apparently right.

Last year, Bell was suspended for the first two games of the season for a DUI/marijuana incident in 2014. Bell came back and played six games before injuring his knee and missing the final eight games. He also missed the playoffs and most of this past spring.

During that time off, Bell raised eyebrows when he tweeted "of course I get a 'random' drug test on 4/20...good luck with that sample."

Some were uncomfortable with the vernacular, since 4:20 p.m. is considered the pot smoker's favorite time of day.

I laughed it off because I felt Bell was so far above this problem that he was merely mocking the process.

Go ahead and mock me now.

I remained in Bell's corner when reporters asked him in June about a rumor of him facing another drug suspension.

Bell appeared -- to me -- to be shocked by the question. He looked us in the eyes and said it wasn't true. I reported that those eyes were so clear and that heart so full there was no way he was lying to us.

Go ahead and mock me now, because it appears Bell is going to miss four games.

He is appealing, and according to Graziano the appeal should be heard prior to the regular season. But not much is expected to go Bell's way on that front.

And why should it?

As little as we think of the marijuana laws in most of the country, and all of the NFL, it is the law. And, Bell, heading into the final year of a contract that figures to make him one of the richest running backs in the game, that figures to reward a player who in 16 games in 2014 rushed for 1,361 yards and caught 105 passes, appears as if he's going to pay quite a price for breaking it.

If he's indeed gone, the Pittsburgh Steelers would once again turn to DeAngelo Williams. The 33-year-old filled in for Bell last season and in 10 starts rushed for 801 yards at 4.5 yards per carry. For the entire season, Williams rushed for 907 yards (4.5) and caught 40 passes for 367 yards.

Behind Williams going into camp next week are Fitzgerald Toussaint (18-for-42 2015 season, 29-for-97 in playoffs), Daryl Richardson (167-690 rushing, 38-284 receiving for the Rams in 2012-13), first-year man Cameron Stingily and undrafted rookies Brandon Brown-Dukes and Brandon Johnson.

Williams is certainly confident and capable, and Toussaint showed good potential during the last playoffs, but the words of Stingily are what come back to me right now as I shake my head over Bell, who seemed to be doing all the right things to live up to his immense potential.

Stingily, who started and was injured in the Steelers' Hall of Fame Game last season, explained how and why he lost 30 pounds before returning to the team this past spring.

"After watching Le'Veon Bell count the calories in sunflower seeds, I fels like I needed to become a professional on and off the field. So I started eating better," said Stingily.

So that explains him.

What in the world explains Bell?


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