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2017 Offseason Questions: What’s Behind Mixed Signals Over Martavis Bryant’s Application?

The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: What is the cause of the mixed signals about the status of Martavis Bryant’s application for reinstatement?

A couple of days ago, a league source reportedly informed one of the local papers that the reinstatement of Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant was deemed “imminent”, which conveyed the notion that it was determined that he would indeed be reinstated, and that it would only be a matter of when rather than if it happens.

Yesterday, a league spokesman refuted the report from the local paper, evidently undermining said league source, saying that there is not only no timetable for Bryant’s return from suspension, there is no update on his application, period.

So what is the real story here? Is the source to be believed, or is the refutation? In this instance, I’m going to go out on a limb in an attempt to answer the question. My suspicion is that the league source was an accurate account, but the league viewed it as a ‘leak’ and thus denied the information that was passed along.

If there’s one think that the league and the commissioner doesn’t like, it’s looking bad, or at least what they view as bad. This whole process of a league source communicating undisclosed information to a local paper is no doubt viewed as bad on their end—yet the refutation probably looks worse in the eyes of the average fan.

To be abundantly clear, I don’t actually know the answer to the question here—that’s generally the way open questions work—I’m just attempting to deduce the middle ground between one side of the coin we’ve been given versus the other.

Either way, it has no doubt been frustrating for Steelers fans to be told that Bryant’s reinstatement was imminent, only to be told otherwise a day later. For what it’s worth, Jeremy Fowler for ESPN also said that Bryant was “encouraged” by what he was hearing, or something to that effect, about the application process.

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