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Reduced suspension for Steelers' Bell?


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.


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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp


Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

Football is back in session for the Ravens.

Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.

The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.

This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief. 

Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason. 


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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.

OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.

The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.

The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively. 

During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.

Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.

They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.