Once again the Pittsburgh Steelers could witness another setback at the beginning of the season. It was reported that running back Le’Veon Bell could be suspended for four games for the second time in a row. The reason for this suspension is because he allegedly failed to show up and take a drug test. As of right now, Bell is going through the appeal process; no other information has been put out on the situation.
With the possible four-game suspension of Le’Veon Bell and the team already without Martavis Bryant for the remainder of the season, those transgressions have led me to believe that we may never see the Steelers at full capacity. Many analysts around the league have said on numerous occasions that the Steelers are the number one threat to the New England Patriots in AFC.
Those statements may be true, but we may never know because the Steelers offense is never at full strength. In 2014, running back Le’Veon Bell was lost for the playoffs when he suffered a serious injury against the Cincinnati Bengals during the last game of the season. The next season, Le’Veon Bell was suspended for four games for allegedly violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
When Bell would return from his suspension, he would miss the rest of the season once again when he suffered a knee injury against the Cincinnati Bengals. The setbacks that the Steelers continue to experience are major ones in my opinion. Wide receiver Martavis Bryant has demonstrated that he is capable of being the no. 2 option to line up opposite of superstar wideout Antonio Brown.
However, we will not be able to witness that explosive duo this season because of Bryant’s season-long suspension. Stepping in for Bryant will be second-year wide receiver Sammie Coates, who the Steelers selected out of the University of Auburn in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Coates has the potential to do great things in the absence of Bryant, but we do not know how much experience he has after spending one year in the Steelers offense. When the Steelers played the New England Patriots in last year’s season opener, they were without Le’Veon Bell; maybe if they had not made a few costly mistakes and if Bell was in the lineup we might have witnessed a different outcome in that contest.
With that being said, it will be another busy season for workhorse running back DeAngelo Williams. Williams did a fantastic job stepping in during Le’Veon Bell’s four-game suspension last season when he rushed for 907 yards and 11 touchdown scores. Williams is 33, and you have to wonder how long he will be able to play the sidekick role to Le’Veon Bell?
With the recent transactions that have occurred on the Steelers football team, I believe they could find themselves once again in an intense battle to win the AFC North with division rival the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s going to be interesting to see how head coach Mike Tomlin will handle this situation.
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