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Reduced suspension for Steelers' Bell?

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Reduced suspension for Steelers' Bell?

Could the three-game suspension for Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell be cut back upon appeal? ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler has listed a few reasons for optimism.

Chief among them? Bell is really, really sorry (or at least that’s been his public stance).

While driving near Pittsburgh in August, Bell was arrested on marijuana possession and DUI charges. In February, he was sentenced to 15 months’ probation and placed in a first-offender’s program. If he successfully completes the program, Bell’s record could be expunged.

“It was my mistake, and I have to pay the consequences for it,” Bell said.

Fowler compares the NFL’s stance to that of the NCAA, which sometimes softens the blow on schools if they show contrition for their violations.

Also, appeals have been known to work. The Steelers can recall how quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s original six-game ban for alleged assault was reduced to four.

In addition, Bell’s entry into the court’s probation program could argue in his favor.

If you consider the NFL’s substance-abuse policy out of step with a rising tide of public opinion on decriminalization/legalization of marijuana, there remains the serious matter of the DUI. So Bell seems likely to still face a suspension.

[MORE RAVENS: URSCHEL MIGHT GET A CHANCE AT CENTER]

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson is his own biggest critic

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson is his own biggest critic

Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including how quarterback Lamar Jackson has fared during OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. Following a January surgery on his left ankle, safety Tony Jefferson remains sidelined after the first week of OTAs. Originally, Jefferson was expected to return 4-6 weeks after surgery. However, now that it's 5 months later, his return timetable is becoming more and more concerning. 

2. Quarterback Lamar Jackson spoke with Ravens media Thursday about his progress not only learning the new offense implemented by Offensive Coordinator, Greg Roman, but learning the names of his new teammates as well. After another day of OTAs, Jackson was his biggest critic despite a solid day of running plays namely passing drills. “I’d say my first day, I sucked,” Jackson said to Ravens media. “Second day, I did better. Today was alright, but it could have been better. I always try to be perfect in practice. It was alright for the first week.”

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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'I started to realize that I’m not broken': Steve Smith opens up about mental health and depression

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'I started to realize that I’m not broken': Steve Smith opens up about mental health and depression

Former Carolina Panthers' star receiver Steve Smith spoke in front of a crowd of over 400 people at the fifth annual Wake up for Wellness breakfast that was sponsored by Mental Health America of Central Carolinas.

The 16-year veteran and current NFL Network analyst touched on the importance of seeking help for bouts with depression and spoke of battles that he has faced with the disease.

“On the outside you’ll see a tough exterior. But on the inside, I’m just broken or I believe even more broken than the average man. ... Because when the stadium goes dark and the cheers stop, you’re still looking for that pat on the back,” Smith said. “Throughout my whole career, I struggled with that.”

Smith discussed that in the beginning, he was so concerned about the stigma regarding mental health, that he opted for the professional to meet him for housecalls, and as time passed he realized the importance of speaking up.

“I started to realize that I’m not broken,” he said. “I’m not being sent back to the manufacturer ... I get up every morning and figure it out.”

Smith's comments on the issue came to light just a day after the NFL and NFLPA announced new legislation that focuses on mental well being.

The newly formed Comprehensive Mental Health and Wellness Committee will develop programs for members of the NFL in addition to collaborating with local and national mental health and suicide prevention organizations. Each team will be mandated to retain a Behavioral Health Team Clinician for assistance that will be required to be available to players at the individual team facilities for at least 8-12 hours per week and must conduct mandatory mental health education sessions for players and coaching staff.

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