Steelers' Bell seeks 1st-offender program for pot
PITTSBURGH (AP) Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell has applied for a first-offender's program on marijuana possession and driving under the influence charges, which could result in the charges being dismissed and his arrest record expunged, his attorney said Wednesday.
The tentative deal would include 15 months of probation and a 60-day driver's license suspension, attorney Robert Del Greco Jr. said. It must be approved by an Allegheny County judge Feb. 6.
Bell would also owe roughly $2,000 in court costs, which include fees to participate in the first-offender's program and a drunken driving school. Bell must also have a drug and alcohol evaluation, participate in driving under the influence group therapy and undergo a court-ordered assessment and follow any treatment recommendations, Del Greco said.
Under the program, Bell does not have to plead guilty. Instead, once the judge confirms he's eligible for the program, Bell will begin serving his probation and can ask the court to clear his record if he completes the other terms without incident.
Del Greco spelled out the agreement when Bell was formally arraigned on the charges Wednesday in county court. Bell was in court but didn't comment.
Bell and fellow Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount were arrested Aug. 20 after a motorcycle officer in suburban Ross Township reported smelling marijuana coming from a vehicle they were in with a female companion.
Blount was cut after he left the field early following a loss to the Tennessee Titans last month and now plays for New England. He faces a preliminary hearing Dec. 10.
Bell is the Steelers' leading rusher with 1,046 yards on 218 carries and is second in the league to the Dallas Cowboy's DeMarco Murray, who has rushed for 1,427 yards. Bell has also caught 65 passes for 643 yards.
Del Greco said Bell is being tested for drugs weekly under NFL rules and will likely face a two-game NFL suspension once the criminal case wraps up.
Del Greco said Pennsylvania has a ''zero tolerance'' standard for driving under the influence of illegal drugs like marijuana, and a hospital blood test showed Bell had marijuana in his system after he was pulled over even though he told police he was ''perfectly fine'' and not impaired. Police seized about 20 grams - or three-fourths of an ounce - of marijuana in a plastic bag found in the car's console.