On the same day they were cited for marijuana possession, Steelers tailbacks Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount both played into the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh’s 31-21 preseason loss at Philadelphia.
Bell (nine rushes, 23 yards) and Blount (seven rushes, 32 yards) were the only Steelers tailbacks to carry the ball against the Eagles.
Afterwards, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin shed some light on why Bell and Blount played.
“From my perspective, in terms of their participation tonight, I didn’t view it as punishment to send them home to be quite honest with you, to not play in this preseason game. I would rather them play more than anticipated than to remove them from the game,” Tomlin said, according to a transcript of his remarks from the club. “That’s why we took the stance that we took tonight.”
Tomlin called the Bell and Blount incident “conduct . . . detrimental to our efforts. They’ll be dealt with appropriately.”
However, Tomlin said the club’s lackluster play Thursday night wasn’t related to the backs’ legal issues.
“We are not going to make any excuse for that performance. We are going to own that. What happened yesterday had nothing to do with how we performed tonight,” Tomlin said.