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Tomlin: DeAngelo Williams a good sub if Bell banned

When the Pittsburgh Steelers signed running back DeAngelo Williams, it was viewed mostly as a depth signing of a low-priced veteran.

After watching the running game wither without Le'Veon Bell in the playoffs last season, Williams' addition might be more important early for the Steelers if Bell is suspended for the start of the NFL season.

"We will wait to hear what happens from a league level in regards to that," coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday at the NFL Annual Meeting, referring to Bell's possible suspension, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But, obviously, we will be prepared to move on without him for whatever time is necessary. The acquisition of Williams helps us in that regard."

Williams missed 10 games in 2014 due to injury, but he has the pedigree to take over the starting role early in the season if Bell misses any time. When Bell returns, Williams is likely return to a complementary role.

"We needed to fortify depth at the running back position," Tomlin said. "He definitely fits the bill."

Bell was arrested on marijuana possession and DUI charges in August. Last month the running back was given 15 months probation and was admitted to a program for first-time offenders as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Generally the NFL views those plea agreements as guilty verdicts under the substance-abuse policy, which could lead to a two-game suspension.

The NFL has yet to announce any penalty for Bell, but the Steelers handcuffed their backfield for such a future. Fantasy football players will likely need to do the same.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps the inaugural Veteran Combine and discusses which star players were helped (and hurt) by free agency. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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