Steelers running backs likely to face marijuana charges


Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrett Blount (Keith Srakocic / AP)

Updated at 12:32 with both expected to play Thursday night

Two Pittsburgh Steelers running backs are likely to be cited for marijuana violations after a police officer smelled the drug coming from their car Wednesday afternoon.

Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount, according to Pittsburgh media reports, are expected to be charged with misdemeanor possession because the officer found a plastic bag with 20 grams of marijuana in the car. Possession of less than 30 grams is considered to be for personal use rather than distribution and is classified as a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania.

Still, they could be subject to discipline by the league, at a time when it is under increasing pressure to change how it handles marijuana offenses. If convicted or if they admit to violating the law, the players would be can be subject to discipline “up to and including suspension without pay for four regular and/or postseason games for a first violation.”

The players were stopped at a traffic light in Ross, Pa., when an officer on a motorcycle got a whiff of the marijuana and, according to Det. Brian Kohlhepp, and pulled them over. Bell was driving and Blount was a passenger, along with an unidentified female in the backseat, and they claimed collective ownership of the marijuana. Citations are likely to be mailed out next week, Kohlhepp told Post-Gazette.com, and all are expected to be charged with possession. A blood sample was taken from Bell, who could be charged with driving under the influence of the drug.

The Steelers had no comment Wednesday night and both reportedly will play Thursday night in the preseason game in Philadelphia.

Bell, 22, was a second-round draft pick in 2013 and led the team in rushing last season with 860 yards, along with eight touchdowns. Blount signed with the Steelers as a free agent this spring after spending last season in New England. He spent his first three seasons in the league with Tampa Bay. A suspension would put the Steelers in a bind.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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