In a word, Martavis Bryant described it as a “rocky” season. That’s more than fair but it could’ve been a lot worse. A four game suspension for repeated drug policy violations. The possibility of one more failed test manifesting into a season long ban still looming. For a second year player, one as talented as Bryant, it served as one of the biggest roadblocks in his football career. This wasn’t like 2014, an understandably raw rookie trying to improve each day in practice for the six weeks before finally showcasing what he was capable of doing. This was him being forced to sit out, away from the team, the facility, for a month.
But he was able to bounce back. With the help of family, coaches, and players.
“My mom, my grandma. They helped me out a whole lot. My grandma was constantly talking to me and my mom made sure I was cool,” he told Steelers.com Missi Matthews in a recent interview.
Back in November, we wrote about the influence his mother – Roberta Bryant – had on Martavis, cooking and checking up on him to make sure he stayed on a positive path.
His teammates became an extension of his family, too, and Bryant credited several of them in the interview.
“Here it was Coach Tomlin, Coach Mann, Ben, AB. The whole group was just checking on me and make sure I was cool especially as I was going through a lot early in the season.”
Like any strong, stable team, its leaders pulled players up when they needed a helping hand the most. For that, Bryant says he is grateful.
“It means a lot to show me that they actually care more about me than just what I do on the field. They actually care about my well-being off the field as well. And want to make sure I’m living the right way.”
In his recent interview, Art Rooney II affirmed that, saying the Steelers need to “continue to work with him,” according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Talent meets opportunity. That’s Martavis Bryant. The league has seen too many Josh Gordon’s and Justin Blackmon’s of the world. It’s easy to fall down that hole and never climb up. While Bryant’s results have been positive, not a single bad thing to say since returning from his suspension, the people who surround him – and of course, Bryant’s own will – will shape the crucial next few chapters of his NFL career.