It’s been a long time since we’ve talked about Martavis Bryant, and not, of course, without reason. For one thing, it’s been a couple of years already since he was last a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, so it would take a special set of circumstances to make him relevant to our range of coverage.
Pittsburgh traded the talented wide receiver to the Oakland Raiders on the first day of the 2018 NFL Draft, getting a third-round pick back for him, which they ultimately used to help them draft Mason Rudolph. Before you scoff, remember, of course, that Bryant hasn’t done much since the trade, either.
In fact, the Raiders released Bryant before he ever played a snap for them, though they re-signed him a week and a half later, knowing that he was facing another possible year-long suspension. That suspension was eventually handed down in the middle of December.
As a result of that, he sat out the 2019 season. He reportedly applied for reinstatement in October, but that didn’t work out, as the NFL had lingering concerns. Now, there are reportedly a number of teams who are interested in the former fourth-round pick—but he has not reapplied to be reinstated.
While it’s being reported that Bryant wants to play, the fact that he has not applied for reinstatement makes the possibility of him playing this season pretty unlikely. The former Clemson product has been suspended three times in his career since being drafted in 2014, including a year-long suspension in 2016.
As a rookie, he was seen as proof positive that the Steelers know what they’re doing when it comes to drafting wide receivers. Even though he sat as an inactive for the first six games of the season—due in part to an injury suffered in the preseason—he still managed to catch 26 passes for 549 yards and eight touchdowns.
His second season, he spent the first four games suspended, and missed the next due to injury, but in 11 games, caught 50 passes for 765 yards and six touchdowns, also adding a rushing touchdown as well. During his final season in Pittsburgh in 2017, he caught another 50 passes for 603 yards and three touchdowns, but by this point had already been giving way to a rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Of especial note, though, was his playoff performance. In four games played, he caught 21 passes for 322 yards with three touchdowns, plus four rushes for 90 yards, totaling over 100 yards from scrimmage per game. He averaged 16.5 yards per touch.
During his one season with the Raiders, Bryant only played in eight games, catching 19 passes for 266 yards, without scoring a touchdown. He finished the season on the reserve/injured list in mid-December, days after which, his indefinite suspension—which is still ongoing—was announced.