The news that Pittsburgh Steelers star running back Le'Veon Bell is potentially facing a four-game ban for violating the NFL's drug policy may not affect the Ravens directly. The two rivals don't play for the first time until Nov.6 at M&T Bank Stadium with the rematch set for Christmas Day at Heinz Field.
However, it certainly could affect how the AFC North plays out, as the Steelers are considered by many pundits as the preseason favorite to win the division. Pittsburgh is already playing the season without wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who was suspended for at least a year for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
Now, Bell, one of the league's top all-purpose backs, will be suspended for the first four games unless he wins his appeal, which should be heard before the start of the regular season, according to ESPN.
Bell reportedly faces the suspension for missing drug tests, which constitutes a violation of league policy. The running back served a two-game suspension last year after he was arrested for marijuana possession and driving under the influence.
The Steelers have a proven veteran backup in DeAngelo Williams and former Raven Fitzgerald Toussaint should also have a role in replacing Bell. However, Bell is still a significant loss, given his versatility and explosiveness.
The Steelers' first four regular-season games are at the Washington Redskins, home against the Cincinnati Bengals, at the Philadelphia Eagles and home against the Kansas City Chiefs.