Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant is certainly a talented player and even though the team’s former running back DeAngelo Williams only had the opportunity to play one season with the Clemson product during his two years in Pittsburgh, he believes he knows greatness when he sees it due to him being in the league as long as he has.
During his recent interview with Adam Schefter on his ESPN.com podcast, Williams compared Bryant to former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson when it comes to level of overall talent.
“Martavis Bryant,” Williams said when asked which player on the Steelers is better than most people realize. “I’ve never seen anybody [with] his height do the things that he’s done – that I’ve seen him do. Like, you see Megatron [Calvin Johnson], and you’re like, that is insane. Like, I’m not sure how fast Megatron was, but I’m almost sure Megatron wasn’t a 4.25 [40-yard speed player].”
Williams continued with his praise for Bryant, “He’s 6-4, 6-5, 225 [pounds] and ran a 4.25. I’m gonna let you do the numbers.”
While Bryant has now served two different suspensions for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, Williams believes the wide receiver will be able to walk the straight and narrow line moving forward with his career and especially now that he’s back around the team again after being away for the entire 2016 season. That, by the way, is something the veteran running back has an issue with.
“Yes, I’m 100 percent sure that he can and he will,” Williams said of Bryant potentially staying out of trouble moving forward. “I thought 30 percent of that’s on the NFL, because the rules are so outdated. This is the issue that I have with the NFL. We preach family, family, family, family and as soon as something happens, we’re individual. We are individual. And this is the cherry on top that really bothers the hell out of me and fans should really understand this. This is what drives me.
“So, if a guy gets busted for pot or street drugs, or something like that, they suspend him for four games. He can’t come around the guys that’s gonna keep him from the pot. They’re gonna put him right back in there with the guys that he got busted with. They isolate him from the positive vibes and influence that he’s gonna have in the locker-room that’s gonna keep him off the stuff. They’re going to put him back in the vicinity, in the area and the place where he got busted at. So, the guys that you’re trying to keep him away from, you’re pushing back to them because that’s who he’s gonna fall back on.”
Williams’ strong words about how the league currently treats suspended players is certainly on point and it’s a shame the league isolates offenders from such a strong support group. With that said, the league’s process isn’t likely to change anytime soon when it comes to such rules.
As for Williams comparing Bryant to Johnson, if you compare the production of both players through the first 21 regular season games of each’s careers, the former registered more catches, yardage and touchdowns than the latter. Now, Johnson went on to have a few monster seasons before ultimately retiring after the 2015 season and ended his career with 731 receptions for 11,619 yards and 83 receiving touchdowns so Bryant certainly has some work ahead of him.
Assuming he’s able to stay healthy and out of trouble with the league moving forward, Bryant certainly has a bright future ahead of him and should be considered a candidate for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2017 if all goes well.
Receiving Stats Comparison Of Bryant And Johnson Through First 21 Regular Season Games Played