The Pittsburgh Steelers hope to have wide receiver Martavis Bryant back in 2017 after the former fourth-round draft pick was forced to sit out the entire 2016 season due a suspension for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked Tuesday during his end-of-the-season press conference if he expects to have Bryant back in 2017 and if so, what he needs to see from the Clemson product when he returns to the team.
“I don’t know what to expect,” Tomlin said of Bryant. “I know that he’s probably going through a restatement process soon, if he hadn’t started it already. A lot of those things have nothing to do with me. I’m kind of in the wait-and-see mode like a lot of you guys are in some of the processes that has to occur in terms of him getting reinstated.
“Obviously, I’m hopeful for that reinstatement, but I’m in a wait-and-see mentality because a lot of those things are outside of our control.”
It was evident Sunday night that the Steelers offense could have used Bryant during their AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots and especially when it comes to stretching the football field vertically. Would it have changed the outcome of the game? It’s hard to say, but Bryant sure would have been a better deep pass option than fellow Steelers wide receivers Sammie Coates and Cobi Hamilton, both of whom had drops on deep pass attempts during the game against the Patriots.
Bryant recently talked about his current situation during an interview with Sports Illustrated and he made it clear that he now understands that he’s likely down to his last strike as it relates to his football career. He indicated that he stopped smoking marijuana about eight months ago and that he’s now taking his offseason training a lot more serious than he has previously.
As Tomlin indicated Tuesday, Bryant’s reinstatement process is likely to start soon if it hasn’t already. In the meantime, he just needs to keep himself clean and continuing working hard.
It’s currently unknown as to how long it will take for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to ultimately rule on Bryant’s reinstatement request and one can only hope that decision occurs ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft.