- Scott Brown, ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter
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Pittsburgh Steelers fans are outraged over the three-game suspension that running back Le'Veon Bell will receive from the NFL, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The suspension is equivalent to about 30 games in a baseball season, to give it perspective, for a player who has never been in trouble before -- and has toed a straight line since his arrest last August on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana.
It is one more game than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell initially suspended Ray Rice for after the former Baltimore Ravens running back was charged with assault for punching out his fiancee. And it is two games more than LeGarrette Blount received for his role in the Steelers' most infamous drive of 2014 even though his culpability in it isn't drastically less than Bell's.
But here is why fans need to take a deep breath.
Nothing, when everything is said and done, will change when it comes to Bell's punishment for his arrest and lapse in judgment.
Bell had already set into motion the appeals process even before the NFL officially announced his suspension. And it's going to get knocked down to two games, which is what the Steelers were bracing for and the reason they signed veteran running back DeAngelo Williams to a two-year, $4 million contact last month.
Williams remains the only outside free agent that the Steelers have signed. And the Steelers made the Carolina Panthers' all-time leading rusher such a priority because they knew they had to account for Bell's absence for the first two games in 2015.
That won't change after the NFL grabs a headline -- and gets a chance to look tough on players who run afoul of the law -- since there is no way the three-game suspension sticks.The collective bargaining agreement -- not to mention common sense -- won't allow it.
That is why Bell will be suspended for three games when it doesn't matter. And why that suspension will be two games when the 2015 season begins.
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