Steelers: The state of Martavis Bryant

The Steelers lost Martavis Bryant for the year, not as if I need to remind you. We all know that. We all know where he’s not. But where he is, that’s harder to answer.

The Steelers have lost Martavis Bryant to a suspension because he violated the league’s substance abuse policy. Which you’re aware of if you’ve been paying attention. If you haven’t you might think you’re reading an article from last year. Nope. Two years in a row. This time for the whole season.

Now Bryant’s future is uncertain with the Steelers, or even with the NFL. The Steelers offense, though probably still awesome, will be different. But what is Martavis Bryant up to these days? Well we’ve gotten some insights lately.

The first insight did not paint a great picture and it was from Ben Roethlisberger. Ben isn’t mad, he’s just disappointed. He’s truly the dad of the offense, telling Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Obviously the Martavis thing was very disappointing, especially all the time and effort and love I put into him, we all did. We all feel a little let down from that.”

Though he spoke to Bryant frequently during his first suspension he’s putting the onus on Bryant this time. “We talked a lot, every day during his suspension we talked. And then, when [the second suspension] happened, we talked, as soon as the news broke I kind of asked him what happened. He said some things that were just kind of disappointing.”

“I kind of put it on his plate. I would love to talk to him, but I have to let him make the move, he needs to reach out to me because I’ve tried and done those things. I’m not trying to be rude or mean, but I think he needs to do that, like grow up and reach out and talk to me, anybody. I know he talks to Markus.”

So it’s good that he’s in contact with Wheaton but it’s odd that he and Ben have not spoken. Perhaps it’s Bryant’s immaturity continuing. Or perhaps he’s ashamed.

“Looking me in my eye and denying everything, it’s tough. It disappoints you as a man and a guy who cared so much about him. I obviously care a lot about him as a person and a football player.”

David DeCastro also recently shared some insight about Bryant, but not before, like Ben, expressing his disappointment. He told Chris B. Mueller of the Washington Times about recent suspensions, “It’s tough. It’s frustrating. Then again, we’re used to it.”

Seems patience is wearing thin among some Steelers regarding the shenanigans of some of their young offensive stars. That being said, he did say Bryant was, “with the right people.”

What people are these you speak of? Don’t worry, none of them are LeGarrette Blount.

We turn to another interview for that answer, but not of a player, as Bryant is forbade to be around the team in an official capacity. His agent, Thomas Santinello, told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN that Bryant is working out 5 days a week and will be coaching at a high school. He said of Bryant, “He’s as focused as I’ve seen him in a while. He’s keeping very busy. He enjoys working with kids.”

Bryant is a cash cow though so that could be spin from someone whose job it is to do that on Bryant’s behalf, which is fine and fair, but let’s get a second opinion just to be sure. Markus Wheaton who seems to be in closest contact with Bryant said, “He’s not traveling as much. He’s with the right people. He’s stationary. I think he’ll be fine.”

Wheaton may be on confident but most Steelers fans, and even many Steelers, seem to be taking a fool me once/fool me twice kind of approach. It’s not unreasonable. To forgive is divine and all that good stuff but eventually it bleeds into naive. The Bryant is in a difficult position. He’s not just going to have to prove to the NFL he’s found his way, but to his own teammates too.

Will he? Well, among most Steelers fans, and most Steelers, the feeling is that we’ll see. It’s up to him to rise to the occasion. And we’ve all been burned. It seems like he’s in a good place but there is some mixed evidence and frankly a dirth of evidence all together under the circumstances. So the ship is setting sail. If Bryant wants to be on it, he’ll catch up.

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