As offseason workouts opened following the draft, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talked about how he wanted to have a talk with the recently reinstated Martavis Bryant, the talented wide receiver that he had played with for the two previous seasons before he was served a year-long suspension for the 2016 season.
According to Bryant, they actually have not had that sit-down talk yet, which he described as a “man-to-man” conversation, and he also seemed to be intent on doing more than listening. The third-year wide receiver noted that he did not necessarily appreciate the way that Roethlisberger may have handled discussing the wide receiver over the past year.
As Alex Kozora noted last night, the quarterback has already built up a history over the past three years of calling out the former fourth-round draft pick. It started out being about things having to do with football, but Roethlisberger was pretty candid about his feelings about how Bryant hurt the team last year.
I do think it’s fair to see both sides of the equation on this one. It goes without saying that Bryant hurt the team, and Roethlisberger is the leader of that team. Yet the wide receiver is also an adult, not a child, and doesn’t need to be publicly scolded as though he were.
More importantly, he has his own life to live, complete with its own problems, and he prefers to retain a degree of privacy. I think that was the most notable piece from Dan Graziano’s article on the subject that surfaced last night.
“At that time, I was going through a lot of stuff”, he said about his struggles with depression and drug usage in the earlier stages of his career. “I wasn’t really even worried about his opinion at that time, because there was just a lot that was going on”, referring of course to the quarterback there.
While Bryant called Roethlisberger ”my brother” and noted the love that he has for him, he stressed, “I have my own family outside of football. I have my own problems. I’m not just going to come up to you and open up to you about what’s going on with my personal life. That’s not how I am. We just didn’t see eye-to-eye on that, but as far as right now, everything’s great”.
I do think that Bryant has some walls that he puts up that may not be entirely necessary or beneficial to him, and this is something that I wrote about in the past—probably more than once. But it’s not exactly a shock that a young teammates is not going to want to discuss his struggles with depression and drug use with his older teammate.
That is just promising a lecture, and especially coming from somebody who has already called you out in the media multiple times, in that kind of state of mind, it seems pretty reasonable from Bryant’s perspective why he wouldn’t willingly invite that.