Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Le'Veon Bell Facing Three-Game Suspension
Fans received a taste of what the Pittsburgh Steelers offense would be like without star running back Le'Veon Bell when he missed the Wild Card playoff game versus the Baltimore Ravens in January.
Now, the Steelers will have to survive without him in their next three games.
The NFL announced on Thursday morning Bell will be suspended the first three games of the 2015 season due to his arrest on drug and DUI charges last August according to NFL.com. He will not be paid while suspended and will also have to pay a fine worth the same amount as his fourth game check.
Bell will appeal the suspension according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The 23-year-old Michigan State product had an incredible second season in 2014, rushing for 1,361 yards, which was second behind only DeMarco Murray. Bell also amassed 83 receptions for 854 additional yards, setting a Steelers single-season record with 2,215 yards from scrimmage.
After the appeal process, if the NFL sticks to its original three-game suspension for Bell, the Steelers expect to start veteran running back DeAngelo Williams. Pittsburgh signed Williams to a two-year, $4 million contract this offseason, anticipating Bell's suspension.
The former Carolina Panthers tail back is entering his 10th season with 6,846 career rushing yards.
Williams has averaged 4.8 yards per attempt in his first nine seasons, but he rushed for a career-low 3.5 yards per attempt last season. He also only played in six games because of lingering injuries.
The NFL releases next season's schedule in April, so Steelers fans will know in the next few weeks who the team's opponents will be without Bell.
It's also worth noting that former Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount received a one-game suspension for his participation in the arrest with Bell last August. When the two were arrested on Aug. 20, police found about three-fourths of an ounce of marijuana in Bell's car according to USA Today.
Presumably, Bell is receiving a much harsher punishment because he was driving the car.