News recently got out that the NFL was planning to suspend the Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Martavis Bryant for a year, following his failure of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. This was, of course, a huge blow to the Steelers, who saw Martavis Bryant really come into his own last year and have a surprisingly successful year. He was overshadowed while at Clemson due to the man he played with, who you may have heard of: Sammy Watkins. This led to him falling to the Steelers in the NFL draft in 2014.
This became a huge deal for his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who needed another target who could do big things for him and take pressure off Antonio Brown. Due to Bryant being present last year, Brown was able to go off a lot on defenses. Case in point, Martavis Bryant is a massive part of this offense, and one that the Steelers cannot lose for an entire season. However, that looks to be the case.
ESPN reports that Martavis Bryant will not appeal the season-long suspension by the NFL. It was reported that he would this past weekend, but obviously after consideration, he decided it was not worth doing. One thing that an agent of his said might have a lot to do with this. Brian Fettner told USA Today Sports that Bryant planned to enter rehab due to depression. Obviously, depression can be hard on a lot of people and cripple a person emotionally, and that can go into a lot of other problems.
Fettner made it clear to USA Today Sports that Bryant’s issue is one that needs attention, telling them as follows.
“We’re all stunned, me included. We clearly miscalculated the issue. His isn’t a party issue. It’s a coping issue and a depression issue, and he’s got to take care of it. This is the biggest cry for help I’ve ever seen, and that hurts. It hurts us to see. He’s 24 years old, and he’s got to get right, whatever it is. If you talk to anybody’s family that has depression, they will be talking about these same things — the [despondence], the withdrawal, the head-in-the-sand despair — just trying to cope.”
Of course, this is a major problem that needs to be addressed, so a stint in rehab and a year off might actually be a very good thing for young Martavis Bryant. A year away can do a lot of good for someone who is in a deep depression. The suspension is his second in the span of just a few years. The first violation of the drug policy is usually the warning, and the second is typically a bigger warning, telling you that you’re being removed for a year and could be banned if you keep going down this road.
It is a good policy for the NFL to have. Bryant served four games for his violation last year and now sees a year out. What does this mean for the Steelers, however? Will they keep Bryant on the roster after two stints with drug violations? If he was making a lot of money, they would release him for this, most likely. However, he is due just $600,000. That means with the low salary, he easily could be kept on the roster and given another chance.
In 21 career games with the Steelers, he has scored 14 times. Clearly, he is a very good player who the Steelers and Big Ben love to have. However, his drug-related problems are a concern. Martavis Bryant may have talent, but his problems could land him without a job. His year off could either get him right, or cost him. It truly all depends on how he goes about using his time away. His suspension from the NFL starts right away, so we will have to see him in 2017-2018.
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