Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant is now back with the team after serving his four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and according to his Monday interview with the media, he looks like he’s in a much better place mentally than he was at the end the preseason.
“It feels great,” Bryant said Monday about being back with the team. “I’ve been through a lot the last three weeks and it feels good to be around my family and back working again.”
Bryant has spent the last three weeks at a Houston-based treatment and recovery center run by former NBA player and coach John Lucas. Bryant was asked Monday what he learned during those three weeks of counseling.
“I learned a lot about myself, especially from the mistake that I made and I also learned from it,” Bryant said. “Now, I just want to move forward and just put everything in my past and just work on becoming a better father and a better football player.”
So, does Bryant think he can immediately help the 2-2 Steelers now that he’s back?
“Whatever they need me to do, I’m here to help,” said Bryant, who was drafted last year by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. “I’m going to give it my all in practice working hard. If I work hard in practice, everything will transfer over into the game.”
During his time away, Bryant said that he stayed in constant contact with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“Ben was talking to me every morning and I highly appreciate him doing that and taking time out to text me every morning, especially during the season when he’s focused on doing his job,” Bryant said.
Bryant, however, didn’t want to reveal what those daily conversations with Roethlisberger revolved around but he did say that he watched every game the Steelers played during his suspension. He also said that he was able to keep his conditioning level up while in Houston and that he also caught passes from his trainer during his workouts.
Bryant’s return should give backup quarterback Mike Vick another weapon to use in the passing game moving forward and the two sure seemed to be on the same page together late in the preseason.
“I feel like he [Vick] has more confidence in me knowing that I’m going to be there for him and have his back, just like I was there for Ben,” Bryant said. “So we’re just going to continue to work and continue the progress this week in practice.”
Just because he’s back, however, Bryant is not assuming that he’ll be allowed to jump right back into the No. 3 receiving spot.
“I have no control over that,” said Bryant. “All I can do is work hard in practice and let the coaches make their decision.”
The Steelers will play the San Diego Chargers next Monday night on the road and Bryant is expected to be activated back to the team’s 53-man roster by Tuesday evening.