Martavis Bryant has taken the first official step to rejoin the NFL, applying for reinstatement yesterday. But doing so obviously does not ensure Roger Goodell will let him back in. And even if he does, it could take a long time It’s a process that has a lot of red tape and the slow-moving ways of the NFL only seems to compound these problems.
To be clear, it’s all Bryant’s fault. He’s the one who got himself into these situations with constant poor decisions inbetween apologies for those poor decisions. His mess and he’s had to pay the price. But Goodell’s reinstatement process, like many things in the NFL, seems arbitrary.
By rule, Goodell is supposed to approve or deny any reinstatement request, like Bryant’s, within 60 days. But that isn’t always the case. Aldon Smith applied on October 3rd of 2016, a supposed deadline of December 3rd to hear back. But Goodell didn’t issue a ruling until December 30th, basically an extra month after the “deadline” and ultimately deferred his ruling until March, keeping him out of the league until then – at the earliest.
Frustrating for fans, frustrating for teams trying to figure out what their roster will look like.
If Bryant’s ruling takes two months, the Steelers will have an answer well before April’s draft. If it’s three months, the Steelers may not know at all or only know days before the draft begins.
Smith’s trainer expressed frustration with how the NFL handled the case, per The Mercury News in mid-December.
“He is losing hope,” Fotion told Tafur. “They are jerking him around, telling him they’ll have an answer for him on Monday. And then nothing. It seems unprofessional.”
Josh Gordon’s situation is much more complicated but he also had to wait for extended periods of time to hear back from the league.
The good news it that is is the offseason, meaning Bryant has some extra time to wait. But for the Steelers, I’m sure they’d like to know as soon as possible so they can proceed. And for Bryant, the sooner he can be around teammates, the quicker he hopefully can get back on the right track and fall back into football, the track that is going to make him successful and hopefully, now, be able to eliminate the things that have derailed that process.
The bottom line is even though Bryant has begun the process, there is no telling when it will end.