Everyone has heard the same thing about Martavis Bryant since he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft: “When he’s healthy and focused on the field, he’s almost unstoppable.”
But the issue has been that Bryant hasn’t always been healthy and available on the field. After multiple suspensions led to his year-long suspension in 2016, the Steelers saw a different Bryant in 2017 — a player who was rarely on the same page with Ben Roethlisberger, wasn’t consistent on the field and who periodically seemed as if he was trying to get out of town.
During the 2018 NFL Draft, the Steelers granted Bryant his wish when they traded him to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round draft pick. Jon Gruden got a nice new piece of weaponry for his offense, but it seems the Bryant-to-Oakland experiment hasn’t gotten off to a very good start.
After rumors swirled of another looming suspension, Bryant was publicly criticized by his head coach during training camp for his lackluster play.
“He’s got to get out here and play better,” Gruden told USA Today Saturday. “He’s in a competitive situation. Right now, a lot of the other receivers have had a nice camp. He’s just got to learn the offense. He’s got to stay out here. He’s had some illnesses. He’s got to get on the field. He’s got to master the offense and become more versatile, and that’s the key to making this team better.”
Realizing he should quickly backpedal to avoid a media firestorm, Gruden followed with this:
“I’m not saying he’s behind, I’m just saying he’s got to be more versatile,” Gruden continued. “I’m not going to say anything more than that. He’s in a competitive situation. Nothing is going to be given to anybody. It doesn’t matter how you got here or what your history card says. We need everybody to understand the best players are going to play, and he’s got to be more consistent. And I’m confident he will.”
Sounds quite familiar to the Steelers’ faithful.
Will Bryant be able to get his act together to have a productive career in his new location? Or is this the beginning of the end for the receiver who was given the nickname “The Alien?” The majority of Steelers fans wished Bryant well upon hearing of his trade, but at least early on it doesn’t seem he’s making much of a positive impression in his new digs.