There has been a little bit of unnecessarily additional drama recently surrounding the application for reinstatement from suspension of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant. While it was earlier reported that a league source relayed the information that his reinstatement was “imminent”, the league denied that there was any timetable, let alone an update, on the process.
But that doesn’t mean that, behind the scenes, the receiver and the team are not optimistic about the chances of the reinstatement coming, and coming within the next couple of weeks. While the league may have publicly denied providing any sort of update, that didn’t prevent reporters from their own network filing accounts of hopefulness on the part of the aggrieved party.
Aditi Kinkhabwala earlier Tweeted—on March 31, not April Fool’s Day—that Bryant is “confident” about the reinstatement and “so are the Steelers”. She added that (and this is the new information) she has been told “there is legit hope he’ll be back by [the] start of offseason workouts, April 17”.
If that date rings a bell, it is because the other day I posed the question following the original report of whether or not his “imminent” reinstatement would take place in time for the wide receiver to join his teammates on that date, which is the first day of Phase One of the offseason program, the first day that players are able to be at the facility in an official capacity and have some level of contact with the coaching staff.
For a young player who has just been forced to sit out not just an entire season, but an entire year—plus a couple of extra months on top of it—being able to rejoin his teammates at the beginning of the offseason program should count as a pretty significant event, even if just for the normalizing factor that it plays.
Ian Rapoport also reported during one the league’s programs on their network that “when you speak to people close to” Bryant, “they are confident that in the near future he will get word that he has been reinstated to the NFL”.
This makes up now one report from a league source and two reports from the player and his associates all indicating that there is optimism that the drama will come to an end, perhaps in a matter of weeks—literally two weeks, hopefully, if he is reinstated in time to begin offseason workouts with his teammates.
The Steelers have made public reference a number of times to the fact that they do not currently consider Bryant in their plans for the 2017 season until they are informed otherwise. We may soon reach the point in which he can hop back on the moving train and work his way forward from the caboose.