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Up to two game suspension looms over Le'Veon Bell, and the Steelers, who are 0-4 without him

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The Steelers lost all four career games they've played without Le'Veon Bell since drafting him in 2013. They're likely to be without him for a game, possibly even two, in 2015.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This road is a dark one, but one that's familiar to the Steelers.

"What will happen if Le'Veon gets hurt?"

Replace "if" with "when" and "hurt" with "suspended," those are the only material changes to that looming offseason concern from 2014 to 2015.

Last year, the team solidified Bell with a capable back-up. They just didn't seem to give LeGarrette Blount the impression he was strictly a back-up. A financially prudent course of action will be to draft a running back, and have that player compete with the Josh Harris's and the Dri Archers of the team.

That's similar to what it was in 2013 when fans talked themselves into getting excited about the Jonathan Dwyer vs. Isaac Redman battle of running back supremacy.

Dwyer didn't make the team, and Redman was benched early in the year, only to force the team to bring Dwyer back. The result, with whomever they put in there, was three straight losses to start the 2013 season. They even lost the first game Bell played, Week 4 against the Vikings in London.

The team settled down to win eight of their final 12 games, and they tacked on 11 more wins in 2014, all with Bell healthy and productive.

He was injured in the second half of Week 17, didn't play in the team's wild card round loss to Baltimore, running the team's record to 0-4 without their featured runner.

The league will at least consider a suspension for Bell, and at most, will ban him for two games. A ruling given down from the courts recently gives NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell all he'd need to render a decision on his fate. It seems reasonable the Steelers would request notice of that ruling ahead of free agency so the team can properly prepare for another stint without Bell.

Decisions they'd make in free agency may affect the draft as well. Finding a running back who can come in to start two games may be difficult to do in the later rounds. Even with the assumed improvement of 2014 undrafted free agent Josh Harris, the team will have to bolster the depth of the position at least for training camp.

If Bell is absent two games this year, it will be a significant reduction for the Steelers' offense, and as we've seen lately, a lesser likelihood of winning. That suggests the need to bring in a veteran who's able and prepared to do his best Bell impression in one or two games, maybe more, in 2015.