PITTSBURGH (TNS) – Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell isn’t granting interviews just yet, but he did take to social media over the weekend and suggested an NFL appeals board will overturn his four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
In the comments section of an Instagram post that poked fun at Bell, the running back responded from his verified account: “I’m not going to miss games, trust me.”
The original post showed Bell in uniform with a bong superimposed on his head. ESPN reported Friday that Bell is facing a four-game suspension. Bell and his agent have not returned calls.
A second response in the same comments section provided more confidence that he’d win his appeal.
“I’m gonna win the appealppl have no idea what happened, but don’t worry let’em hate. When I end up missin no games at all, ppl for sure gonna try to love me again and I’m only ridin with my LOYAL fans.”
Bell denied rumors in June that he had failed or missed a drug test.
“I’m fine,” Bell told the Post-Gazette during minicamp. “I’ve missed no drug tests, I haven’t failed any drug tests. I’m completely fine.”
The NFL suspended Bell for the first two games of last season after he pleaded guilty to marijuana possession and DUI during the preseason of 2014. That suspension placed Bell into Stage 2 of the NFL’s substance abuse program. Players in Stage 2 of the program go through more rigorous testing and can be tested up 10 times each month. Any failed or missed test in Stage 2 can lead to a four-game suspension.
Bell’s appeal is expected to be heard before the regular season begins.
Bell is expected to report to training camp at Saint Vincent College with the rest of his teammates Thursday. His pending suspension has no affect on his preseason training regimen. Even if the appeal is upheld, he can participate in all activities until the regular season begins.
Bell is coming off a major knee injury in which he suffered tears to his PCL and MCL in his right knee in a game against the Bengals last November. Bell said this spring he plans to be ready for the start of the season, but the Steelers never committed to that timeline. And there is a chance Bell will start camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list when camp opens Thursday.