There may not be a more anticipated moment than when Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant first officially reports back to the team since he was conditionally reinstated from an indefinite suspension that wiped out the entire 2016 season for him. This has left his reputation battered in the eyes of many fans, but at least some of his teammates have his back.
A hat tip is due to Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider for pointing this out, but Ramon Foster recently addressed the Bryant situation on his podcast about a week or so following the draft, which was not long after the news of his reinstatement came out.
Foster has recently undertaken the project of hosting a podcast along with one of his brothers, older brother and professional basketball player Ron Slay, in which they talk sports, and in one segment on a podcast focused on the NFL Draft, Foster talked about his embattled teammate.
Hat tip, again, to Wexell for providing the transcription of his comments, and apologies in advance, but this is information worth aggregating, no matter how aggravating it might be to the journalists who see blogging as the bane of their existence.
Speaking directly to Bryant, Foster said, “I just want to say ‘kudos’ to your situation and going through it”. He noted that he “had an opportunity to go on that ride a little bit”. Because Foster is the Steelers’ representative with the players’ association, he was able to be in some contact with Bryant, saying, “we communicated a little bit here and there”.
“I’m the NFLPA rep for the Steelers so I knew a little bit about his situation, and just know that guy did everything he needed to do, and more, in getting back right with the NFL”, Foster said. “Handclaps for him because that’s a journey. Anybody who’s ever dealt with that or been embarrassed nationally — that’s what it is because those things aren’t supposed to get out — but for him to do what he did to rectify that, and more, my hat’s off to him”.
He also talked about the team aspect of the journey, and while Ben Roethlisberger may have made a choice comment or two, Foster insists that “we welcome him back with open arms. We’re happy to have him back, of course, because we know what he can do”.
He did add, “I’m sure Ben will be — um — just like Randy Moss, man, just throw throw your hands up, Martavis. We’re gonna surround our guy and make sure he’s right and I know he’s going to do the right thing, too, so welcome back. Glad to have you back”.
He also had a message to the fans, telling them to support Bryant. “Try not to be the Twitter troll. Support the kid. Surround him, because that’s a lot. This guy could’ve lost everything he had and he’s done everything right by himself and by us as of late. Let’s roll with that”.
Of course, it will be more difficult for outsiders who do not see the work that he has ostensibly put in over the course of the past year to welcome him back so readily, at least until he starts catching touchdown passes. And we must also bear in mind that he is not fully reinstated yet, and won’t be for a while.