NFL from the Sidelines

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O-R Sports reporter Dale Lolley gets you the insider scoop on the NFL.

After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop. Dale can also be heard on the Steelers radio network pre-game show prior to every game. Follow him on Twitter at dlolleyor.

Thoughts about Green and Bell

August 20, 2016
A Pittsburgh Steelers helmut sits on the turf before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Ladarius Green said Saturday that the rumors surrounding him being held back in this preseason by a concussion or concussion-like symptoms are unfounded.

He also said speculation that he was considering retirement are pretty silly as well.

“I’m 26,” he noted.

While some people might be skeptical of that, I’m not one of them.

Having watched Green work out throughout the offseason and into training camp, which he began on the PUP list, he appears to be a guy who is rehabbing from exactly what the Steelers and he are saying, an ankle injury.

He has continued to do more and more each week, to the point that last week, he was running around and catching passes from trainers.

That doesn’t sound like a guy who is in any kind of concussion protocol to me.

That Green suffered two concussions last September is not in dispute. But he returned from those two play in every game but San Diego’s regular season finale.

He missed that after being placed on injured reserve with, you guessed it, an ankle injury.

I did a radio show last week with Tim Benz who had interviewed a San Diego writer last week. The writer said Green hadn’t traveled back to San Diego with the team following a game in Oakland in Week 16, instead coming back a day later with a team doctor.

The inference was that Green and the Chargers were hiding the fact he had suffered a concussion in that game. But San Diego had other players who did sit out the team’s regular season finale against Denver with concussions. So why would the Chargers, who knew they weren’t going to keep Green, hide another concussion?

The answer is simple. They wouldn’t, especially not considering how seriously the NFL now is about those injuries.

Should the Steelers be getting frustrated by the fact Green has now been on the PUP list for three weeks? Sure.

They’d like to see a guy they gave a four-year, $20-million contract on the field, especially now that we know Le’Veon Bell will miss the first three games of the season.

But it will happen at some point, rumors or not.

• Speaking of Bell, his admission Friday on his Instagram account that he hadn’t smoked marijuana since December of 2014 was curious.

Perhaps he misspoke. He seems to be doing a lot of that lately.

Or perhaps, since he hadn’t been officially placed into the NFL’s drug program at that point, he was enjoying one last hit with the boys.

I’m not a fan of the NFL’s marijuana policy. It’s punative instead of being something that helps a troubled player.

And society’s feelings toward marijuana have undergone a major shift.

But Bell knew the rules when he signed his contract to play in the NFL. And the rules state that you can’t smoke marijuana. And if you do and get caught, you’re subject to more stringent testing.

Bell said on his now-deleted Instagram post that he missed tests in November and December of last year because he couldn’t get to the team facility after having knee surgery.

He then said he missed another because it was scheduled to occur at 7 a.m. on a Saturday - others heard 5:37 a.m., I listened twice and heard 7.

Perhaps the late season ones could have been brushed off. But it doesn’t matter if the league schedules a test for 3 a.m. on a Tuesday, if you’re serious about your job, you don’t sleep through that alarm.

• As for Bell and his Instagram posts. Deleting it was probably the smartest thing Bell has done in a while.

He looks great on the field, like he’s never had an injury. And I truly don’t believe he’s a bad guy – though he’s making that difficult with his mistatements and such.

But he really needs to stay off of social media for a while.

Once that news broke and the vocal minority started to rip him - something I’m sure happened - he obviously felt the need to defend himself. Sometimes, however, the best thing is to say nothing at all.

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