Steelers GM Kevin Colbert released a statement expressing his disappointment with Le’Veon Bell being suspended for the first three games of the season.
“We are disappointed Le’Veon Bell has been suspended three games to start the 2016 season. We will continue to support Le’Veon, but we acknowledge this mistake has put the team in an unfortunate position. We will continue to work with Le’Veon to help him eliminate distractions in his life so he can reach his full potential as a member of our community as well as a player for the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell’s four-game suspension is being reduced down to three games.
- Tom Pelissero reports that there were some issues with the process surrounding Bell’s missed tests, which led to the two parties negotiating a reduction of one game.
- According to Mike Garafolo, Bell will remain in his current stage of the substance-abuse program, as part of the settlement agreement. This means that Bell’s next suspension would also be four games, and not 10, per Garafolo.
- Pro Football Talk reports that Bell will lose $170,000 of his 2016 salary. The Steelers will have to pay $115,000 for suspensions of Bell and Martavis Bryant.
This means that Bell will now will be eligible to play in the Steelers’ Week 4 match up against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Bell was facing a four-game suspension for missing multiple drug tests. Some felt that Bell had no shot at getting his ban reduced, but it appears as though there was enough of a case to be made to at least cut one game from his suspension.
Last year, Bell was suspended for the first three games of last season, but this was later reduced down to two games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy after he was arrested for marijuana possession and DUI in the summer of 2014.
Bell, 24, is entering the final year of his four-year, $4,120,600 rookie contract that included a $1,376,800 signing bonus. He’ll make a base salary of $966,900 in 2016.
Bell wound up missing the first two games of the season due to a suspension before later sustained a season-ending injury.
In 2015, Bell appeared in six games and running for 556 yards on 113 carries (4.9 YPC) to go along with 24 receptions for 136 yards receiving and three total touchdowns.