The last time he was on the field, he merely made Pittsburgh Steelers history. That would be on January 17, 2016, when the Steelers were hosted by the Denver Broncos in the 2015 AFC Divisional Round. That game, then-second-year wide receiver Martavis Bryant set the franchise record for the most yards from scrimmage in a playoff game.
He may not have scored in that contest, but Bryant has the feel of accounting for the Antonio Brown-less Steelers’ entire offense, accumulating 196 yards of offense. Even though that was technically just less than half of their 396-yard total offensive output, his impact was by far the greatest.
The former fourth-round draft pick caught nine passes in the game for 154 yards, but on top of that he added a 40-yard run on an end-around—which was his second postseason contest in a row to record a carry of 40 or more yards.
This is all just a way of reminding you of the sort of player that the Steelers had at their disposal in Bryant, and the talent that they are looking to rediscover as he makes his way back to the team, whenever that might officially take place—presumably with the beginning of OTAs in a short amount of time.
He was not, of course, a one-game wonder by any means. Emerging from one of the deepest draft classes at the wide receiver position in recent memory during the 2014 NFL Draft, Bryant’s talents slipped all the way to the fourth round for the Steelers, where they were happy to take him after nearly drafting him with the 97th-overall pick in the third round.
And I do mean that literally. Reportedly, they handed out a press release about Bryant to the media by accident following the pick, suggesting just how close they were to taking him earlier than they ended up getting him. Which turned out to be quite fortunate given Dri Archer’s short career, who ended up being the 97th-overall pick.
Speaking of that famous draft class, only Odell Beckham, Jr. has been more efficient over the past three years—for one of which Bryant was suspended, of course. According to Pro Football Focus, Bryant’s 2.32 yards gained per route run is second-best from that class to only Beckham, who has gained 2.46 yards per route run to date.
On a per-route basis, only Odell Beckham Jr. has more receiving yards than Martavis Bryant since 2014. pic.twitter.com/4foK2X60La
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 12, 2017
He has only played in just 21 regular-season games to date, but in that time, Bryant has accumulated 76 receptions for the Steelers for 1314 yards with 14 receiving touchdowns, with an additional 49 yards and a touchdown on eight rushes.
He has also been a noted playoff performer, where in three games he has caught 19 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns, with an additional 90 yards on four rushing attempts. And that was before he reportedly took training seriously. He is hungry to redeem himself, so opposing defenses ought to beware.