Cincinnati Bengals: Are The Steelers The Real Thugs?

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Le’Veon Bell may miss the first four games of the season. Are the Bengals really the thugs of the North?

The 2016 NFL season is right around the corner. Teams will be reporting to training camp, with dreams of Lombardi’s dancing in their heads. But, are some of those dreams drug induced? Per ESPN, it seems LeVeon Bell may be receiving a four-game suspension. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back is facing the repercussions of missing another drug test.

When Cincinnati Bengals WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict was hit with a three-game suspension, the Week 2 game at Heinz Field loomed as a huge challenge. But, with Bell likely facing a timeout on the sideline, things get interesting. Suddenly, it looks like the Bengals have a chance to steal both games from their northeast rivals.

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Of course, there will be the typical backlash from “Stilluh” Nation. But, that’s to be expected. With the loss of Bell over a missed drug test, that brings a heavy question to the forefront. Who are the real thugs? Burfict and Adam Jones were quickly labeled as the crazies, after the January 9 WildCard game. Yet, it seems that Steelers players are exhibiting the habits most commonly associated with thug activity.

Let’s get this straight. No one wants to be labeled as a thuggish or violent player in the NFL. But, when comparisons are made, it looks like there are a few discrepancies.

Say it with me class. Burfict plays with passion. At times that emotion can go too far. Yes, he’s had some questionable moments. That’s the reason Jim Haslett was plucked for service. The hard-nosed veteran will be able to coach up No. 55 and help him stay focused. Let’s go with a show of hands. Has Burfict been called out for ignoring the NFL’s substance abuse policy? I’ll wait.

Related Story: Bell And Substance Abuse?

Martavis Bryant will also be missing from the Steelers offense. What caused his suspension? Oh, yes…substance abuse. Isn’t that more of the thug mentality? Naturally, Bell will appeal the ruling. Yet, how does this look to Bengals faithful? If it isn’t overturned, it will mark two straight years Bell has missed games due to drugs.

Bell’s situation is serious not only to Bengals fans but himself. He’s now in Stage Three of the NFL’s abuse policy. He has to comply with a treatment plan. He’s now subject to unannounced tests. Bryant is also in this category.

Looking at it from a fan’s perspective, karma is a witch with a big two-by-four. Bengals backers should be dancing in the streets. On a personal level, Bell needs the understanding of his teammates and Steelers brass. Losing game checks (I’ll take one, please) over drugs that don’t mean a thing is insane.

As for the thug tag, Bengals players aren’t engaging in the stupidity of years past. Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown have cleaned up the Bengals’ image. Need a recent example? Corey Tindal was waived, two weeks after being robbed in a poker game.

The Bengals have solved their “thug” problem long ago. Looks like the Steelers need to do the same.

Next: Bengals-Steelers 2.0?

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