Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Le'Veon Bell Talks The Talk But Can’t Walk The Walk

The Steelers running back emphasized his latest suspension resulted from missed random drug tests, and not a relapse into the marijuana-induced haze that got him jammed up last season. But if you lack the maturity to grasp the consequences of your actions (or, in this case, inactions), does it really matter?

photo by pittsburgh steelers/karl roser


Le’Veon Bell has degenerated from All-Pro running back into a “Seinfeld” character, but in this episode nobody’s laughing.

Remember the rental car counter?

“You know how to take the reservation … you just don’t know how to hold the reservation … and that’s really the most important part.”

Bell knows how to take responsibility for actions that have gotten him suspended at the outset of a two seasons in a row.

But he doesn’t know how to hold himself accountable enough to not get suspended in the first place.

And that’s really the most important part.

“I own up to everything,” Bell articulated after his latest NFL-imposed penance for running afoul of the league’s substance-abuse policy had been announced. “It’s all my fault. I can’t blame nobody else for that.

“I’m going to serve my suspension and move on from there.”

That was a spot-on mea culpa.

It was also a 180-degree shift from the stance Bell had adopted in June: “I’m fine. I haven’t missed no drug tests. I haven’t failed any drug tests. I’m completely fine.”

Turns out, he’s not.

His three-game suspension might have been four if not for a reported negotiated settlement between the NFL and the NFLPA, a plea bargain that also maintains Bell’s status in Stage Two of the NFL’s Intervention Program.

That’ll be a big deal the next time Bell winds up in a similar predicament (he’ll face another four-game suspension rather than a ratcheted-up six-game ban).

Is there anybody out there –– Bell excluded –– who isn’t convinced there will be a next time by now?

Bell had this to say heading into last season, when he was facing a three-game suspension that was ultimately reduced to two:

“It’s going to challenge me on the field and off the field to be a better person. I’m a smart person. I’ll learn from my mistake. I know how much it hurt my family, my teammates, the whole Steeler Nation. I know how much it hurt everybody. I can’t make the same mistake again. I’m not a guy who’s ever been in trouble, college, high school I never got suspended.

“My mom raised me great. She never raised a bonehead kid. I made a mistake, I’m human. I know right from wrong and I’ll learn from it and I’ll move forward from it.”

Bell was at it again on Saturday, signing an oh-so-familiar refrain:

“It’s going to help me be a better player, obviously be smarter, definitely a learning experience.  I’m not the perfect person. I didn't do everything right. I didn’t do everything wrong, either. This is going to be a learning experience for me. Obviously, it sucks to keep having to miss time. I know everybody wants to see me play. I obviously want to play football and be out there with my teammates and help the Steelers win a super bowl. Obviously, I gotta learn from this and move on.”

Sound familiar?

Alas, even the most entertaining re-runs lose their appeal eventually.

Bell emphasized this suspension resulted from missed random drug tests (which are considered failed drug tests in the eyes of the NFL), and not a relapse into the marijuana-induced haze that got him jammed up in the first place.

But if you lack the discipline to fulfill your obligations once you’re in the program, if you lack the maturity to grasp the consequences of your actions (or, in this case, inactions), does clean pee really matter?

“You can ask a lot of my teammates, even when it comes to a diet, I’m talking about eating chicken nuggets or hamburgers or pizza, I’ll say ‘no’ to that because that’s not what I do, that’s not the person I am,” Bell insisted. “All the people who say I smoke weed or whatever, that’s fine. Everybody can be entitled to their own opinion and think what they want. But the people who know me know the type of person I am and those are the people I’ll ride with.”

Maybe one of them can give Bell a ride to his next random test.


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

How Making Juice Changed Sharif Rasheed's Life

The owner of Safi Juice in Garfield left a job he hated to tap into something from his childhood.

Pittsburgh's Can't Miss Concerts in April

This month's lineup includes Rick Astley, Billy Price, Christopher Cross and Ronnie Milsap.

Pittsburgh Flicks and Nightlife in April

Tour local social clubs with the Roaming Social Club; expect changes at AMC Waterfront

April: Best of Culture in Pittsburgh

Check out some of the finest stage plays, dance performances and exhibits taking place this month in Pittsburgh.

Undercover: What We're Reading in April

A look back at "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" as it turns 30, plus two literary events coming up in April.

Perspectives: ‘This Is Us’ Is a Story of Us

A former Pittsburgher finds more than a few similarities between his own life and that of the siblings on "This Is Us."

Spare Change: A New Way of Giving

A local group is using music and some spare change to help charities — and filming every step of the way.

Look How Mighty This Bellevue Garden Has Grown

Last season, the Rosalinda Sauro Sirianni Garden produced 4,862 pounds of food; the harvest was donated to three food pantries.

When and Where to Dump Your Junk (including old TVs)

A state environmental agency wants to help you recycle your hard-to-dispose-of household clutter.

Watch: Trailer of “Won't You Be My Neighbor”

The documentary about Mister Rogers' iconic show takes viewers beyond the cardigan collection and into “the heart of a creative genius.”

On a Lark: Pittsburgh Mom Creates Activewear for Babes

Unable to find cute, environmentally friendly gear for her newborn son, Lark Adventurewear founder Pallavi Golla launched her own line of moisture-wicking clothing for kids.

Pittsburgh MultiStories: The Beacon's Perch – The Grant Building

When it opened in 1929 as the city’s tallest structure, crowds of sightseers paid a quarter to visit the rooftop observation deck of the Grant Building — named for the street, which was named for the hill, which was named for the somewhat hapless general.

Rick Sebak Digs Up Distant Carnegie-Trump Connection

Research into Andrew Carnegie’s marriage reveals an unlikely, albeit tenuous, connection between the Pittsburgh icon and the 45th President.

JuJu Smith-Schuster Teams Up with Drake, Travis Scott and Ninja to Play Fortnite

Drake and Ninja broke Twitch viewing records, and Smith-Schuster and Scott joined in later.

Growing Up: mossArchitects Moving to Garfield

Principal Andrew Moss says his architecture firm will move to the heart of the Penn Avenue Arts District after outgrowing its current space in Lawrenceville.