I wasn’t planning on writing a column when I arrived at The Herald Friday, but there were so many interesting headlines, it was hard not to.
A college athlete dies after a 40-minute workout.
Ezekiel Elliott is being reviewed on allegations of domestic violence.
Jeff Gordon is out of retirement and ready to race.
But, one in particular caught my eye: Bell facing suspension.
Is it hard to believe? Not really.
Do you want to believe it? Not really.
It’s a tale as old as time: History repeats itself.
Le’Veon Bell is either extremely egotistical and arrogant. Or, he is dumb.
He could make millions this year, but, either because he failed drug tests or missed the drug tests, all of that is on the line.
ESPN first reported that Bell is facing a four-game drug suspension. And after the news broke, Pittsburgh reporters at the Steeler’s camp were quick to ask him about it.
“I can’t keep talking about the drug tests because I probably already said too much about it,” Bell told Jason Mackey for DK Pittsburgh Sports.
The league doesn’t care if you miss drug tests or fail them, it all equates to the same result — suspension.
Bell hasn’t played a full season since 2014, since he was suspended for the first two games of 2015. It was supposed to be a three-game suspension, but the league reduced it. And later that year, a knee injury took Bell’s season away from him after playing only six games.
This is how the league deals with cases like Bell:
After failing one drug test (or missing one) it puts the player in the substance abuse program, with no suspension, but as more offenses occur, Bell raised the bar to a four-game suspension for himself.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Bell as an athlete. He’s good. But, is he good enough for a contract extension, especially with everything that is surfacing now?
I’m not here to say that Bell should be cut from the team, although Paul Zeise from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette might think so.
The bottom line, when it comes down to it, is give Antonio Brown more money.
And don’t try to tell me Bell is irreplaceable.
DeAngelo Williams ran the ball 801 yards last season, for 11 touchdowns, all in the 10 games that Bell missed.
I will admit that I think Bell is one of the best running backs in the league, but his stupidity has landed him in an uncanny category: suspension-prone, which gets clumped in with Bell being injury-prone, too.
Now, Pittsburgh is in a tough place, especially with Bell’s contract ending at the end of the 2016 season. He was on pace to make about $966,900 this year with his base salary alone.
The Steelers are going to need to find balance with Bell if they keep him around. I’m sure the Rooney family isn’t too fond of his careless acts, which hurt his teammates more than it obviously affects Bell.
Lohr is the sports editor at The Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 827-3634.