So, let’s talk. Let’s talk about talking, because evidently that is what today is going to be all about, even if it is behind closed doors within the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Everybody is going to be talking to everybody today, at least according to yesterday’s talk.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a growing problem in their locker room with wide receiver Martavis Bryant’s dissatisfaction with his role, and the team is more interested in solving the problem internally than by simply shipping him out. Both Head Coach Mike Tomlin and owner Art Rooney II have stated that he will not be traded.
ESPN reporter Josina Anderson spoke to Bryant directly yesterday, and one comment in particular stood out to me. Basically, he said that his problems have pretty much been under the table over the duration of this whole period.
“Me and coach always communicate, but we don’t communicate about this because I’ve been holding it in and I ain’t been saying nothing to nobody”, Bryant said of speaking to Tomlin. “I just been keeping it to myself and just talking to my receivers coach every now and then about it”.
It isn’t much of a surprise of course that he might say to wide receivers coach Richard Mann that he wants to see the ball more. But of course every wide receiver wants the ball more. It’s not something that is out of the ordinary.
But can this really all be solved by talking it out? Tomlin during his press conference yesterday admitted that the ball was in his court to speak to Bryant. Ben Roethlisberger said on the radio, “come talk to me…let’s figure out a way”.
For his part, the wide receiver seemed to understand that it’s time for some serious conversations to get underway. “I feel like it is necessary for me to talk to everyone”, he told Anderson. “I mean, I’m going to sit down and whoever wants to talk to me, I will talk to them and tell them how I feel. Ain’t no hard feelings, it’s just business”.
He said that he hopes to talk to Tomlin specifically, but he has to “talk to all the coaches, not just one. I will talk to everybody to get their perspectives of what’s going on, and what I can do better and what I need to do to get better”.
I think the real question remaining is not so much whether or not the Steelers are able to give Bryant a bigger role in the offense that he can live with, but whether or not he is going to be a malcontent if he is stuck on the team in a reduced role.
He said simply, “so be it”, should that happen, “I’m not going to re-sign”. He added, “I have this year and next year. I’ll just play next year out. I’m not tripping”. What will those years be like if he is only getting a couple of catches per game?