In case you haven’t gathered by now, today is the first of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 10 OTA sessions leading into minicamp before the team goes on a break before they hit Latrobe for training camp. Chances are, Pittsburgh is going to be pretty close to all hands on deck, and, reportedly, that is going to include wide receiver Martavis Bryant.
The third-year player, who was suspended for the entirety of the 2016 season, has not publicly participated in any of the Steelers’ offseason workouts thus far since he was reinstated around a month ago just before the start of the 2016 NFL Draft.
He was, of course, reinstated conditionally, and part of the requirements for him to return to practice with his teammates was to obtain local counseling services in what has been referred to as part of a relapse prevention program.
During his live Asked & Answered segment yesterday for the Steelers’ website, Bob Labriola fielded a question about the talented wide receiver, in which he began answering by explaining that he “isn’t MIA” and that he has been in the building. He noted previously that he personally saw Bryant and that he looked to be very much in shape.
But Labriola did say that “he is in the process of complying with the NFL’s conditions for return to the field”, adding that “those are on schedule to be resolved for him to participate in OTAs, which begin on May 23”.
That is, of course, today, and he said this yesterday, so presumably that means that he may well be participating today, although he did not specifically say that Bryant would be participating at the start of OTAs. That was his reported goal soon after he was reinstated. Hopefully that proves to be the case.
I don’t know how to evaluate the worth of him getting in practice sessions now from the perspective of somebody who might be worrying about his rust. I cannot gauge at the moment just how much work he may need in order to get back into rhythm with the offense, so I cannot say how critical it is that he returns sooner rather than later.
But I think the more important aspect is already out of the way, and that will have been to speak to his teammates and offer his requisite apologies and vows to be better and to stay clean and to fight with his teammates for a championship.
The rest, I believe, will eventually fall in line, but I think that sort of ice breaker is one that is better had sooner rather than later, and I would imagine that, given that he has already been in and around the facilities, such conversations have already been held, and that he can get back to football. Hopefully, starting today.