Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant may not be with the team next season.
Bryant was suspended all of last year after repetitively abusing the NFL’s illegal substance policy. Still, Bryant is a dynamic football player. He is fast, has length, and quality hands. However, he can’t stay on the field.
Pittsburgh Steelers Cannot Count on Martavis Bryant
The fourth round draft pick hasn’t played a full season after being drafted in the fourth round in 2014, despite showing tremendous promise. In his rookie year, he sat out the first six games because of an A/C sprain. For the remaining 10 games, he caught 26 passes for 549 yards and eight touchdowns.
In one of the most talented draft classes in the last decade—which included Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Sammy Watkins, Jarvis Landry and many more—Bryant finished the year tied for third in rookie touchdown receptions with a shortened season. Averaging over 20 yards-per-catch while scoring the ball a third of the time he touches it, Bryant was a true offensive commodity.
In 2015, Bryant was suspended the first four games after testing positive for marijuana. He was out an additional game because of a knee injury. But, again, once he hit the field, he just has the knack for the end zone and huge plays. His highlights included scoring big plays like a 94-yard touchdown as well his acrobatic flip catch that was revered as the “Catch of the Year”.
Can he help the Steelers in 2017?
The short answer is absolutely yes.
In playing in just 22 games, Bryant has 14 touchdowns. He’s a player who can take it the distance every time he touches the ball. While on the field he provides relief for All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown, who commands defense’s attention.
Last season, Brown had 12 touchdowns. Outside of him, the next best wide receiver had three in Eli Rogers.
Will he be back in the Black and Gold?
The problem is the Steelers have lost their faith in their young stud. When the Steelers needed him the most last year he wasn’t available.
Last season, Coates battled through broken fingers. Rogers was in and out of the lineup for undisclosed reasons, while both Markus Wheaton and Darrius Heyward-Bey landed on injured reserve. Having the 6-foot-4, 4.4 forty running wide receiver could’ve propelled this team during its spell of injuries.
Another main problem he faces is the distrust that has formed between the young pass catcher and his quarterback. According to Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette, Bryant lied to Roethisberger when he was confronted about abusing the drug policy. Roethisberger even came out to say Bryant needs to “grow up.”
Recently, signs have gotten worse for Bryant’s odds of a return. Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert spoke about Bryant in the past tense as if he wasn’t returning in a press conference on March 1, via NFL reporter Marc Sessler.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert: ‘Martavis (Bryant) was a great asset to us when he was available.’
The Pittsburgh organization runs a tight ship and rarely deals with players with off the field issues. Just think back to when backup running back LaGarette Blount was cut immediately after not adhering to post game protocol in 2014. Or a more pertinent instance, when Pro-Bowler wide receiver Santonio Holmes was traded during his prime after being suspended for substance abuse.
Furthermore, it is more than likely that Bryant’s time in the Steel City is over.
Currently, Bryant has been working extremely hard in preparations for this season, according to his social media accounts. And he is going to need to continue his efforts to get back in good grace with the Steelers.
If not, he is just showcasing his physical abilities to possible suiters looking to throw a flier at a young proven playmaker.