An absolutely massive storyline I don’t want anyone to forget about. Roger Goodell is supposed to make a decision of whether he’ll reinstate WR Martavis Bryant for the 2017 season by tomorrow afternoon.
Will that actually happen? That’s a different question.
Bryant applied for reinstatement on January 28th following his year-long suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Per league rules, the commissioner has 60 days to respond to the request. Either by accepting it, and letting him back into the league, or denying it, and perhaps waiting longer to make a final decision on his 2017 status.
Goodell and Bryant apparently haven’t had a face-to-face meeting. But Jacob Klinger pointed out such a meeting probably wouldn’t exist. Bryant reportedly was set to meet with the league’s medical adviser on March 13th, who would then go to Goodell to allow the commish to make a final decision. It’s unknown if that meeting ever took place.
While league rules say he must make a decision by then, Goodell runs his own world and doesn’t have to adhere to his own rules. Here’s what I wrote on January 29th.
“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.”
In Smith’s case, at the time, his agent said the league was being “unprofessional” with him, promising and answer and then repeatedly delaying it. Goodell could have an answer tomorrow or he could string Bryant along throughout the offseason. Both feel equally as likely at this point. And for what it’s worth, there hasn’t been a shred of news of Goodell making a decision.
It could still happen tomorrow. It’s supposed to happen tomorrow and for the Steelers’ front office sake, I hope it does. The sooner they get an answer, the better they can plan for the draft.
Just don’t count on it.