Some good news is better than no good news. According to Sky Sports, the NFL has decided to reduce the Le’Veon Bell suspension. Instead of missing the first four games of the regular season for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the 24-year-old running back will only miss the first three games.
When the NFL first announced that Le’Veon Bell was suspended for missing three random drug tests, the Ohio native informed Pittsburgh Steelers fans through social media that he will not miss four games. While Bell was hoping for a much bigger reduction, he was right about not missing four games.
Le’Veon Bell can thank the NFLPA, more formally known as the National Football League Players’ Association, for making sure that he gets that sizable fourth paycheck. The organization negotiated with the NFL to reduce the suspension because they feel that Bell truly made a mistake by not being in communication with the league offices.
In an attempt to explain his side of the story, Le’Veon Bell has stated that he changed his cell phone number. The NFL was not informed of that, so they were calling his old cell phone. While that does sound plausible, players in the National Football League are required to maintain contact.
While Le’Veon Bell with get to play one additional game for the Pittsburgh Steelers this year, the 6-foot-1, 244-pound running back will be required to remain on the substance abuse program that the NFL ordered him to participate in. That might have been something the NFLPA used as leverage in negotiations.
Since the suspension was reduced, the good news for Le’Veon Bell is that his next violation will be a four game suspension as opposed to a 10 game suspension. Losing an NFL star for four games is hard enough, but losing him for 10 games could alter an entire season.
In 2014, Le’Veon Bell rushed for 1,361 yards and scored eight touchdowns. The Pittsburgh Steelers felt that they had a franchise player in the making. That is important because Ben Roethlisberger is now 34-years-old and his health needs to be preserved by a strong running game.
While the suspension reduction may be good news for Le’Veon Bell, it isn’t exactly good news for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They do get their starting running back on the field a bit earlier than expected, but the team is reportedly is still facing a $115,000 fine from the NFL for having multiple players on suspension.
As some already know, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison recently called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a crook, as reported by CBS Sports. That makes it even more noteworthy that the National Football League would reduce the suspension on Le’Veon Bell. Obviously, many will speculate if the suspension reduction would have been different without Harrison being involved in a very public feud with Goodell.
There are only so many opportunities to play in the NFL, as scores of college players are coming into the league each year. Suspensions are designed to remind players of that. Hopefully, Le’Veon Bell has learned his lesson.
[Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]