Details from the criminal complaint emerged on Friday after Pittsburgh Steelers running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount were charged with marijuana possession.
According to the complaint obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, when a Ross Township police officer motorcycle cop told Bell that he could be facing a DUI charge after he allegedly admitted smoking the marijuana police found in the car he was driving, the Steelers running back seemed puzzled.
"I didn't know that you could get a DUI for being high. I smoked two hours ago," the complaint quoted the 22-year-old Bell as saying. "I am not high anymore. I am perfectly fine. Why would I be getting high if I had to get on a plane to make it to my game?"
Officer Sean Stafiej asked Bell where he was headed.
"I have to be on my plane at 3 to be in Philadelphia," Bell said. "I play for the Steelers."
Bell and the 27-year-old Blount, who is in his first season with the team, as well as a 21-year-old woman passenger from California, were cited for misdemeanor possession of 30 or fewer grams of marijuana after Stafiej stopped them after he noticed a "strong odor of marijuana" coming out of the driver's side window when he pulled up next to the Chevrolet Camaro.
Bell also was charged with driving under the influence of marijuana after a blood test at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Passavant, Ross Township Police detective Brian Kohlhepp said. Both charges are misdemeanors.
A preliminary court date has not yet been determined.
Bell initially told the officer there was no marijuana in the car, but when asked if they had smoked any, he replied: "It was about a minute ago," before clarifying that it could have been within the previous two hours.
The Steelers played both backs Thursday night in their 31-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. They combined for 55 yards in a loss.
Bell and Blount apologized after the game but said nothing about the charges each faces.
"I'm sorry for the distraction that I caused my team," said Blount, who led the Steelers with 32 rushing yards on seven carries. "I just want to apologize to my team and my coach and my organization for causing that distraction."
Bell rushed for 23 yards on nine carries. He later apologized for causing a distraction but declined to answer any questions that didn't pertain to football.
Coach Mike Tomlin opened himself up to criticism by playing Bell and Blount in the preseason game.
"I didn't view it as punishment to send them home, to not play in this preseason game," Tomlin said after the game. "I'd rather play them more than anticipated than to remove them from the game, so that's why we took the stance we took tonight. Obviously we've got some things to do regarding the matter moving forward but not a lot to say at this point in time."
The NFL is expected to review the incident, and each player is subject to a one- to four-game suspension.
Bell is entering his second season after breaking Franco Harris' Steelers rookie record for yards from scrimmage with 1,259.
Blount signed with the Steelers during the offseason after rushing for 772 yards and seven touchdowns on 153 carries last year with the New England Patriots.