Le'Veon Bell Threatens To Skip Latest HGH Test, Could Face Suspension

By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York

It appears the NFL and Le'Veon Bell are headed for a standoff over drug testing, and it could result in a suspension for the Jets' star running back.

Last month, Bell complained that he had been chosen by the league for five random HGH blood tests in 10 weeks and insisted he would not submit to any more. 

"Whatever y’all lookin for it obviously ain’t there & I’m not about to keep allowing y’all to stick me with those dirty ass needles..find the players who really do that HGH BS & get off me," Bell tweeted to the NFL at the time.

On Friday, Bell tweeted a photo of a notice on his locker saying he had been selected for yet another HGH test, and he included a stern message for the league: "I bet I don’t."

@NFL I bet I don’t ------ pic.twitter.com/9Sqw1Ndza4

— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) December 27, 2019

Refusing to take a drug screening is considered a failed test and is punishable by suspension. In Bell's case, the league could come down hard on him because of his previous substance-related suspensions when he played for the Pittsburgh Steelers -- one in 2014 after being charged with marijuana possession and DUI, and another in 2016 for missing a drug test.

It's hard to see Bell being banned for Sunday's season finale at Buffalo because he has the right to appeal and would likely enlist the help of the players' union to help argue his point. But this could be a story line that carries over into next season.

Of course, Bell could eventually give in to the testing, making the matter moot.

“At the end of the day, if we have to cross that bridge when we get there, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Bell told reporters Friday. “I’m saying right now, the way I feel today, when that tweet went out, that’s how I feel."

But the notice instructed Bell to report "immediately" to the testing room. So it would appear he is already standing at "that bridge."

Bell is wrapping up his first season on the four-year, $52.5 million contract he signed with the Jets in March.

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) carries the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at MetLife StadiumVincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

There's no guarantee the three-time Pro Bowler will return to the Jets next season. Coach Adam Gase and then-general manager Mike Maccagnan reportedly butted heads over the contract offer made to Bell, and new GM Joe Douglas was said to be open to the idea of dealing the running back before the trade deadline.

Trading Bell would become more difficult if he's suspended to start the 2020 season. And cutting him would be a costly move for the Jets, who would eat at least $15 million in dead salary cap space, as opposed to $6 million if he were traded.

Running behind a shoddy offensive line, Bell, 27, has rushed for just 748 yards while averaging a career-worst 3.3 yards per carry this season.