Running backs embarrass Steelers
PITTSBURGH – “Le’Veon and LaGarrette” doesn’t tumble off the tongue as easily as Cheech & Chong, but Pittsburgh Steelers fans had reason to wonder if the 2014 season had gone up in smoke before it even started.
Word came on Wednesday that running backs Le’Veon Bell and LaGarrette Blount had been cited for marijuana possession while sitting in traffic in the North Hills.
A passenger in their car, one Mercedes Dolson, was also cited. (Her name is likely to be the answer to a future trivia question, so it’s probably smart to remember it).
The courts will handle this, and the NFL will have its say. Bell and Blount should probably be most concerned about the three-person jury of Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert and Art Rooney II, who will charge them with DDT – doing dumb things.
The arrests came at around 1 o’clock in the afternoon. The only people who can justify getting high at that hour are musicians and those on lunch break from telemarketing jobs.
Say one thing about that schedule, though. When the munchies inevitably hit, you’ll have far more options at 7 p.m. than at 3 a.m. Middle of the night, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’re going to be stumbling out of the convenience store with petrified hot dogs from the roller, a fistful of Slim Jims and the giant bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.
Bell and Blount did many things wrong, and one of them was having two players from the same position group breaking the same laws at the same time. That can cause havoc on the depth chart if suspensions ensue. The concept is the reason the President and Vice President are never on the same plane.
Why get buzzed at 1 in the afternoon? Perhaps the pressure of McKnight Road traffic was intense. Maybe the radio was stuck on sports talk. That would explain a lot. Or are they nervous flyers who wanted to take the edge off before boarding the team plane at 3? The last one seems unlikely, given the Steelers were headed to Philadelphia, a flight no longer than some Kennywood rides.
According to police, a motorcycle officer happened to pull up alongside the car and thought he smelled a Jimmy Buffet concert. He investigated, and found the evidence.
Look, our culture’s relationship with marijuana has evolved. Recreational use is now legal in some states. Not Pennsylvania, of course, where consumers still have to jump through hoops just to buy a six-pack of Miller High Life.
Maybe the Steelers clouded the message a few years ago when they honored hometown hop head Wiz Khalifa at a game. An organization too stodgy to have cheerleaders celebrated an artist whose career has been based on the glorification of cannabis.
But weed isn’t just for slackers any more. Even Rick Santorum, so conservative he’s suspected of showering with his clothes on, has admitted to past use. Tomlin was part of a generation that grew up with easy access and casual use. A question about his personal history would liven up a Tuesday press conference, but, alas, Jory Rand isn’t around now to ask it.
Bell faces a potentially serious DUI charge that could at least cost him driving privileges for a while. Why was he driving this time? With a $1,376,800 signing bonus in the bank, he should hire someone. It’s not only stylish to sit in the back seat, it might put a cousin to work.
The episode shows why coaches get weepy when training camp ends and players are no longer locked down. You can only imagine Tomlin’s reaction when he got the phone call. Maybe it was like the time he got that call about Milledgeville a few years ago: “He did what?”
In some odd way, it’s probably good that Bell and Blount have bonded so quickly. Total strangers nine months ago, they’re apparently doobie brothers now.
The citations will show up in the mailbox right between the new Sports Illustrated and the Arby’s coupons. The biggest offense here is these guys were dumber than doorknobs to put themselves in a position where they embarrassed themselves and their employer.
One good thing: The arresting officer described them as “cooperative and polite.”
You kids remember that. If you’re going to do something profoundly stupid, you can at least be courteous.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org