While Bell's case is still under review, the news cannot be welcome for the Steelers or Bell.
If he did indeed miss "several" tests (and not just one), it seems much less likely that he'll win his appeal and have his suspension reduced. We've moved bell down to #11 in standard formats and #9 in PPR. He's worth consideration in the second round, but it's difficult to invest an early round draft pick that will miss the first month of the season.
The suspension is the result of a missed drug test, not a failed one, sources said. The reason it hasn't been announced is that the appeal process is ongoing.
No date for Bell's appeal has been set, although it's expected that it will be heard before the regular season. If it's not overturned, he would miss the first four games of the season.
According to the league, missing a test is the same as failing it. As the article notes, Bell is appealing the decision, so it could be overturned, but there's a good chance that he misses the first four games of the season. This would seriously hurt his draft stock while boosting the stock of his backup, DeAngelo Williams. Williams averaged 21.3 touches for 112 yards and 1.1 touchdowns in the 10 games that Bell missed last season. Williams is 33, so owners should not expect that sort of production again, though he should be a serviceable RB2 as long as Bell is out. After his ban was reduced to two games last season, Bell's ADP remained in the early 1st round, though a four-game suspension is a lot tougher to swallow. We expect he'll fall out of the 1st round, while Williams' ADP will rise a few rounds. The silver lining here is that Bell has an extra month to recover from MCL and PCL surgery, so he should be good to go in October.
Pittsburgh Steelers star running back LeVeon Bell says he's on schedule for training camp and that his leg is "probably stronger than it ever was" after rehabbing a right knee injury that knocked him out of last season.
In a sit-down interview with ESPN on Saturday, Bell said he's beyond all the physical hurdles he faced, and right on time for him to report to the Steelers on July 28. But it will be up to the team to decide his workload in training camp and the preseason.
Bell suffered a torn MCL and PCL in Week 8 and had surgery last November. He played five games last year and rushed for 556 yards with three touchdowns. He'll likely be the first RB off the board in your fantasy draft this summer and perhaps even a top-five selection. Looks like there are no issues with his rehab up to this point and he's ready to go.
Bell has averaged 23.2 touches for 132 total yards and 0.64 TD in his last 22 games and is the clear cut #1 RB when healthy. If he is truly 100 percent ready to go for training camp, then he is a very solid pick in the 1st round of fantasy drafts. The Steelers would be wise to utilize the very capable DeAngelo Williams to keep Bell fresh, but they haven't shown much of a willingness to do so, as Bell has averaged 22.8 touches (for 115 total yards) in six games with Williams available.
The running back tweeted he was "moving on" from football on Friday morning, a statement that smelled like an April Fools' Day prank from the beginning. But Bell let the tweet stew for nearly two hours before confirming the prank.
Bell left the line hanging so long some checked with a Bell rep to ensure the joke was nothing more. Shortly after 11, Bell tweeted, 'LOL!!! some fell for it, some didn't ... but anyways, APRIL FOOLS!'
The knee injury that caused LeVeon Bell to miss the final eight games of the 2015 regular season could also end up costing him a game or two in 2016.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert revealed on Wednesday that there's currently no timetable for Bell's return, which means the All-Pro running back could miss the beginning of the upcoming season.
"There is no timetable coming from us when he needs to be ready for this. We can't even say he'll be ready for the regular season because we won't know that until he goes through the whole process," Colbert said at the NFL combine, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "His health and his ability to return at 100 percent is the most important."
Bell suffered a torn MCL and PCL in a Nov. 1 loss to the Bengals. The Steelers running back then underwent surgery five days later, which means 10 months will have passed once the 2016 season kicks off.
Related players: DeAngelo Williams
Todman has 2 carries for 14 yards this season. Pead was signed last week when the team placed Bell on injured reserve. Hopefully a little extra rest will do Williams well for the rest of the week leading up to a nice matchup against the Browns. With Ben Roethlisberger likely out, the Steelers were expected to count on the run game this week.
Monday, November 9, 2015, 1:21pm
The Steelers lost Bell for the season after his knee bent backward during a sideline tackle in Pittsburgh's game against the Bengals on Nov. 1. Bell tore his medial collateral ligament and is believed to have posterior cruciate ligament damage as well.
Bell's anterior cruciate ligament is intact, which will help him make a recovery for the 2016 season, his last before he enters free agency.
LeVeon Bell's 2015 season is finished.
The Pittsburgh Steelers placed their star running back on the injured/reserve list, they announced on Monday afternoon.
Bell suffered a reportedly "badly torn" MCL in the second quarter of the Steelers' 16-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday when Vontaze Burfict tackled him in front of the Pittsburgh sideline and Bell's right foot caught in the Heinz Field grass.
The Steelers signed former St. Louis Rams draft pick Isaiah Pead to fill Bell's spot on the 53-man roster. Pead will see time behind DeAngelo Williams along with Will Johnson and Jordan Todman. Williams filled in nicely when Bell was suspended the first two games of the season and becomes a must-add if he's on your waiver wire.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that Bell is expected to miss the rest of the season with a badly torn MCL and other damage, according to a source informed of the injury. Bell was hurt during Pittsburgh's 16-10 loss to the Bengals on Sunday.
This is a brutal dose of news for the Steelers, coming on the same day that their realistic chance to win the AFC North evaporated. Now they have to worry about surviving without what we believe is the best running back in the entire league.
The Steelers are unfortunately getting used to playing big games without Bell. He missed the team's playoff loss to the Ravens in January due to a knee injury, and missed the first two games of the season due to a suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
It goes without saying Bell cannot be replaced. But the Steelers do have an excellent backup in DeAngelo Williams, who combined for 194 rushing yards and three scores in his two starts in place of Bell. Unfortunately, the Steelers line is a bit banged up and Roethlisberger is trying to get back to form after a knee injury. Williams is a must-add if he's on your wire. A lot more may fall on Ben's shoulders as well as the receivers as the team tries to make up for the loss of Bell.
The injury looked bad. The news may not be.
Per a league source, the Steelers are optimistic (for now) about the condition of running back LeVeon Bell’s knee. He exited the stadium during the game for evaluation at a nearby hospital, and the source tells PFT that the initial indication is that the ACL is intact.
The team hopes it’s only an MCL injury, which likely would knock Bell out for a game or more, but which wouldn’t end his season. Bell’s knew was twisted awkwardly during a sideline tackle, but he was able to walk to the cart that carried him to the locker room, the story said.
“Le'Veon doesn’t like to come out of the game. That’s no secret and that’s because he’s in phenomenal shape. But I think it’s still beneficial not just to him [or] to this team in the short term, but in the long term. You’re talking about a long season. If every third series, every fourth series, whatever it is, let DeAngelo come in.”
Might having the accomplished Williams sub for Bell on occasion save their All-Pro for later in the season and maybe even extend his career?
“We all feel confident in DeAngelo,” Roethlisberger said. “The other thing I think we can do is we can put them both on the field at the same time. I think Le'Veon is so dangerous out of the backfield, you know, put them both on the field and use one as a screen, the other as a runner, who knows? I think the possibilities could be endless.”
Tomlin was not offering any specifics Tuesday about how he will use Williams.
“We will figure that out as we go. However, if Bell is available, we will use him.”
Last year, Tomlin said that they were going to use LeGarrette Blount in a significant role, and Bell absolutely dominated the touches. But Williams seems to be a better fit for the Steelers offense than Blount ever was, and is running with confidence. We project Bell for 21.3 touches in Week 3. He averaged 23.3 last season. Williams is in the RB3/flex conversation, but his usage is up in the air.
But things are about to change for the Steelers. And change for the better.
The Steelers offense is about to get stronger, and then perhaps even scary in Week 5 when WR Martavis Bryant returns. For Bell owners, Williams has proved his value as a handcuff so it may be a good idea to keep him around. Williams' play may also earn him a little more time on the field and the Steelers may not have to ride Bell as hard as they did last year. The return of Bell could mean Antonio Brown sees more one-on-one matchups.
And the Steelers have Roethlisberger, who is coming off a 4,952-yard, 32-touchdown season. Roethlisberger, who attempted 608 passes last year, will be called upon to carry the offensive load.
Behind Williams, the Steelers are so thin, they have moved H-back/tight end Will Johnson into the running back room as the No. 3 option behind change-of-pace back Dri Archer, who has 10 career rushing attempts.
"When you have No. 7 and a guy like 84 [Brown], anything is possible," Johnson said. "We can go as far as we want."
It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Steelers be pass-happy in Week 1 with no Bell in the lineup. That's great news for owners of Roethlisberger, Brown and Wheaton especially, as the season kicks off this Thursday night. Ben is ranked seventh among our QBs this week in what is a pretty good matchup against the Pats.
When Ben Roethlisberger speaks, Pittsburgh listens. So when the two-time Super Bowl champion predicts a breakout star, it's worth paying attention.
Most of the Steelers talk heading into the 2015 season has been about Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant, but Roethlisberger believes a different player will steal the headlines offensively this season.
"I think Markus Wheaton is our breakout player of the year," Roethlisberger said on Sirius XM NFL Radio. "I want that. I want him to have that pressure. Because when we're in two wide receivers, he's our No. 2. And we're asking him to play outside. And we go three wide receivers, we ask him to move inside."
Wheaton, a third-year pro out of Oregon State, has recorded 59 receptions for 708 yards and two touchdowns in his first two seasons.
It was widely believed Bryant, not Wheaton, would line up opposite Brown to start the season in two-wide sets. But it appears Bryant will miss some time with an infection in his elbow. This could cause a bit of a rankings shakeup among the Steeler WRs and is definitely something to watch during camp and heading into the season. Bryant was our 18th ranked WR while Wheaton wasn't even getting drafted in 12-team leagues. Bryant also put up fringe WR2 numbers while only playing 60-percent of the snaps.
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