NEW YORK (AP) — All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell and star tight end Antonio Gates are among 26 players who will begin the NFL season on suspension.
Pittsburgh's Bell will be idle for the Steelers' first two games, including the season's kickoff Thursday night at New England. His suspension for violating the substance abuse policy was reduced from three games.
San Diego's Gates, one of the most prolific receivers at his position in league history, is docked four games under the performance enhancers policy.
Also out are three standout defensive linemen: the Cowboys' Greg Hardy (personal conduct, four games), the Jets' Sheldon Richardson (substance abuse, four games) and the Bills' Marcell Dareus (substance abuse, one game).
Three players have suspensions that could last the entire season. Cleveland WR Josh Gordon (substance abuse, indefinite), Miami DE-LB Dion Jordan (substance abuse, season), and Arizona LB Daryl Washington (substance abuse, indefinite).