The San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to travel to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2 this season. The Steelers might find themselves without running back Le'Veon Bell for that game due to a substance abuse suspension, but his status remains a bit of a mystery.
The NFL announced in early April that Bell was suspended three games due to his August 2014 arrest for DUI and marijuana possession. At the time, Adam Schefter reported Bell would appeal the suspension. It has been three and a half months since the initial announcement, and Roger Goodell is apparently not sure of the status of Bell's appeal. Goodell will not hear Bell's appeal under the terms of the drug program, and it appears he has stayed entirely out of the loop on it.
I would hope the hearing officer handling the appeal would get something figured in time for the start of the season, but the radio silence means we don't really know where anything stands. If Bell's suspension is upheld, the Steelers will roll out a running back depth chart likely led by DeAngelo Williams, and followed by Dri Archer and Josh Harris.
While I would certainly have no problem with the 49ers facing a Bell-less Steelers squad, I'm not putting any eggs in that basket. The 49ers will have to figure out ways to beat plenty of good teams this year, and facing a full squad Steelers team will tell us a lot about the 49ers. The Steelers boast an offense that could be one of the better in this league if they get solid offensive line play.