According to a Monday report by Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant has accepted a one-year suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and will thus begin serving it immediately.
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 14, 2016
Steelers announced Martavis Bryant officially suspended without pay for a minimum of one year.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2016
According to the new report, Bryant had originally planned to appeal the suspension, but has since decided to begin serving it instead. Bryant, who was suspended last year for the first four games of the 2015 season for testing positive for marijuana, has reportedly missed several scheduled drug tests and because of that, they are counted as him failing them.
After he was suspended last year, Bryant reportedly spent time in Houston working with noted counselor and former NBA coach and player John Lucas.
In the 21 regular season games that Bryant has played in since being drafted by the Steelers in the fourth-round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Clemson, Bryant has caught 76 passes for 1,314 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also rushed for another 49 yards and a touchdown on 8 carries.
The Steelers released the official statement from the NFL on Monday.
“Martavis Bryant of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been suspended without pay for a minimum of one year for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Bryant’s suspension begins immediately.”
Bryant will reportedly be eligible to apply for reinstatement no sooner than 60 days before the one-year anniversary of his suspension.
While the loss of Bryant for the 2016 season will be big, the team was able to re-sign veteran wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey prior to the start of free agency. Additionally, the signing of free agent tight end Ladarius Green on Wednesday should also help the Steelers offense fill the void created by Bryant being lost for the season.
With Bryant now gone for a season, the Steelers will also expect wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates to play the majority of snaps on offense opposite Antonio Brown. Wheaton is entering the final year of his rookie contract while Coates, who was drafted last year in the third-round out of Auburn, will be entering his second year in the league.