The Pittsburgh Steelers running backs will be charged with marijuana possession following a traffic stop the day the Steelers flew to Philadelphia for their third preseason game.
Ross Township detective Brian Kohlhepp said traffic officer Sean Stafiej pulled over a Camaro operated by Bell around 1:30 p.m. after Stafiej, who was on a motorcycle, noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Stafiej found a 20-gram bag of marijuana inside the car. Bell, Blount and a female passenger all claimed ownership of the marijuana, according to police.
Bell, 22, was taken to a hospital to have blood drawn and is expected to be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.
Bell, Blount and the female passenger are expected to receive notice of formal charges through the mail, said Kohlhepp. The possession and DUI charges are both misdemeanors.
The incident happened less than two hours before the Steelers flew to Philadelphia for a preseason game Thursday night against the Eagles.
"We are aware of the reports and still gathering information," Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said. "We will have no further comment at this time."
The team could hold both out of the Steelers' game Thursday night against the Eagles, and the NFL is expected to review the incident. Bell didn't fly with the Steelers to Philadelphia, according to multiple reports, but later made his own way to the city to rejoin the team, a league source told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio. Blount is with the team, according to ESPN's Ed Werder and multiple reports.
Team officials and coach Mike Tomlin expect to talk with the duo in the morning before deciding if they will play Thursday night.
Bell and Blount have been close since the latter signed a two-year, $3.85 million contract as an unrestricted free agent with the Steelers in March.
The friendship they quickly formed was expected to make for a smooth transition to the field, where the Steelers plan to split the workload between the two backs.
Bell broke Franco Harris' record for yards from scrimmage by a rookie last season (1,259) and he won the Joe Greene Performance Award, which is given to the Steelers' top rookie. Blount signed with the Steelers after rushing for 772 yards and seven touchdowns for the New England Patriots last season.
The fifth-year veteran emerged as the Patriots' best back by the end of the season, and he rushed for 166 yards and four touchdowns in an AFC divisional playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Rookie Dri Archer is No. 3 on the Steelers' depth chart at running back but he has also split his time at wide receiver.
None of the other running backs on the Steelers' roster has played a game in the NFL.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Tough Decisions Ahead For Steelers
Herm Edwards discusses how he would handle Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount, who are facing marijuana charges.