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Steelers' Le'Veon Bell facing four-game suspension

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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is facing a four-game suspension for missing several drug tests, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday, per sources informed of his situation.

While Bell's case is still under review, the news cannot be welcome for the Steelers or Bell. Pittsburgh is looking to finally regain some consistency on offense, having not had Bell for a complete season since 2014. Bell is hoping to lay the groundwork for a long-term contract that would place him atop the NFL's running back market.

ESPN first reported the development.

So it goes for the Steelers, who will await the results of an appeal that should come down before opening day, though there is no clear timetable set. Per Rapoport, Bell will have the opportunity to plead his case and explain why he missed the test, but the NFL's policies are so stringent that there may not be much wiggle room.

Last year, the Steelers went 7-3 in the 10 games Bell missed.

Bell rushed for 556 yards and three touchdowns over six games last year. His 2014 season -- 1,361 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns, 83 receptions for 854 yards and three touchdowns -- stands as the benchmark of his potential, though this is the second time Bell has tangled with the NFL's suspension office.

Almost exactly one year ago at this point, Bell had a three-game suspension for violating the league's policy on substances of abuse reduced to two games. He was arrested back in 2014 for possession of marijuana and a DUI.

The Steelers could now start the year pinned in a familiar position. The hope is that 33-year-old DeAngelo Williams can ride the momentum from a year ago and continue to act as a capable stopgap solution.

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