Tomlin: Bans for RBs 'on the table'

LeGarrette Blount

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers could be without one or both of their top running backs when they open the regular season in two weeks against the visiting Cleveland Browns.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin reiterated Monday that Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount will be punished over marijuana possession charges that stem from a traffic stop Wednesday, shortly before the team flew to Philadelphia for a preseason game the following night. Tomlin said the Steelers have not ruled out suspending Bell, who was also charged with driving under the influence, and Blount.

"Everything's on the table," Tomlin said.

Steelers president Art Rooney II indicated Monday that the Steelers would move deliberately when considering discipline for the pair.

"There are parts of this that are going to have to go through the legal process and the league review process," Rooney II told ESPN.com on Monday. "We'll just have to deal with it as that process unfolds."

Both running backs will play in the Steelers' final preseason game Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers, Tomlin said Tuesday.

Bell and Blount are the only running backs on the Steelers' roster who have any NFL carries, and losing one or both of them would be a significant blow to an offense that wants to establish the run this season.

The two players are also subject to NFL discipline, though a league suspension probably wouldn't be levied until next season.

Bell and Blount each played extensively in the Steelers' 31-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night. After the game, Tomlin said he played the two because he didn't view sending them home as punishment.

Tomlin said Bell and Blount will be "dealt with swiftly," though the punishment won't be disclosed unless the Steelers suspend one or both of the players.

Bell and Blount apologized Thursday night for causing a distraction, but neither would answer any questions that were not football-related.

Steelers players have said that the Bell and Blount arrests have not been a distraction.

"We don't spend a lot of time talking about what happens off the field. Obviously what's going to those guys is going to happen to those guys, and nothing we can do or say here is going to change that," veteran wide receiver Lance Moore said.

"We're not going to disown them or treat them differently. Obviously it's a situation that we would like to have not have happened, something that maybe could have been avoided. They made a decision, [but] once we walk through these doors, it's all work."

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