He is the last guy to be asked about it but you knew Mike Tomlin would have to field some questions about Martavis Bryant at today’s press conference. As expected, Tomlin didn’t have much to say but affirmed his strong relationship with Bryant.
“I had no reaction,” Tomlin said when asked about his thoughts to NFL Network’s Sunday report that Bryant requested a trade.
After a follow-up, Tomlin said the communication between himself and Bryant has been positive throughout the year.
“I’ve had good fluid communication with Martavis throughout this process. Like I’ve had all the other players. He was a big contributor to our efforts on Sunday. He was excited like everyone else.”
On his weekly radio spot, Ben Roethlisberger praised Bryant for his effort as a blocker, helping to allow the Steelers’ run game to flourish.
Tomlin said he had no idea where the initial report stemmed from.
“I don’t know where these reports come from. Sometimes they come from family members close to him. Sometimes they can come from agents. I don’t judge him or my relationship with him based on things said by others. He appears to be happy and focused so it’s a non-issue for us.”
We do know, one of the few facts of the situation, that Bryant’s girlfriend has been publicly upset about the lack of playtime and involvement in the offense Bryant has had. While JuJu Smith-Schuster has continued to outsnap Bryant, Tomlin downplayed things.
“I think both guys are over 45 snaps. You guys are cutting it petty thin when you’re distinguishing roles when both guys are playing over 40 snaps. Sometimes it’s schematic matchups, sometimes it’s things we’re trying to do in-game. I wouldn’t read too much into it, to be honest with you.”
For the record, Smith-Schuster logged 44 snaps and Bryant only 33 this week so the difference is a little more than Tomlin stated. Still, point taken, and the snap counts have been close over the last month.
Ultimately, Tomlin said he doesn’t even view this story as a distraction and by Monday in the Steelers’ locker room, players were openly mocking the story. That tells you all you need to know.