Earlier this month, we passed along ESPN’s Dan Graziano’s quotes from Martavis Bryant. Much of that centered around Bryant’s relationship with Ben Roethlisberger and Bryant’s request for a “man to man” talk.
The context and rest of that interview was published by ESPN today. Those quotes were part of a larger feature piece on Bryant and his road back from a season-long suspension.
Leading off, Bryant says he’s finally gotten the message to give up smoking and focus on a drug-free lifestyle, for both himself and his family.
“The smoking part, yeah, it clicked in me I can’t do it anymore,” Bryant said. “I wanted to be better than I was before. In order for me to be better than I was before, I had to put more into it. I’ve been training this offseason. I’m taking a different approach.”
He told Graziano – the entire interview is worth checking out – he’s finally listening to his support system instead of shutting them out like he had in the past.
“I”m not guarded like I used to be. I’m more open to people.”
Bryant went on to say not having his dad in his life, or any type of father figure, was a difficult part of his upbringing. And Bryant’s own adjustment to fatherhood, having his first kid while he was still in high school, was difficult without anyone to show him the way.
During his suspension, he said two Steelers helped him get through the toughest moments.
“Ramon Foster and Pouncey…they were in communication with me all the time. Whatever I needed to get done, they were just supporting me. Just checking up on me, making sure I was good. Those guys did that on an occasional basis. I thank them for that. You don’t get too many guys who care about you.”
There were, of course, the “man to man” comments but they’re worth hearing instead of just seeing their text. While it still is strange Bryant hasn’t talked to Roethlisberger yet, the way Bryant explains things is much softer than the way they were probably initially perceived. For whatever that’s worth.
Bryant’s comments are just that, words, that we’ve heard before. But he certainly sounds contrite and his actions, training harder than ever, are all positive signs for a great year. On and off the field.