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: Will Martavis Bryant be reinstated in time for the beginning of Phase One of the offseason program in mid-April?
Reports surfaced yesterday that league sources of passed along the knowledge that the pending reinstatement of Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant is “imminent”, meaning that it is only a matter of time as to when it actually happens, which indicates that there has already been a consensus reached that it will happen.
That in itself is wonderful news on many level, not the least of which being the fact that his coaches and teammates can finally begin to re-forge relationships with the young man, who reportedly at least in part attributed his drug usage issues to depression.
Early on during his suspension, his former teammate DeAngelo Williams publicly blasted the league for its policy that prevents suspended players from interacting with his teammates, arguing that the ability to associate with his peers may be the best thing to keep the player from actually relapsing into the activity that resulted in the suspension in the first place.
So if the question has truly shifted from ‘if’ to ‘when’, then I suppose the relevant next question is, will his reinstatement come down in time for him to be able to report with the rest of his teammates on April 17, which is the beginning of Phase One of the offseason program?
It would be great, though certainly not essential, if Bryant’s reintegration process could begin at that time, to make him feel as though he is truly a part of the team again and doing everything that the rest of his teammates are doing. No doubt one of the most difficult aspects of his suspension has been the requirement that he stay away from them.