What is it with the ongoing love for Martavis Bryant from Steelers fans?
I only ask because there is a bit of a groundswell of opinion within a certain segment of the fan base that Pittsburgh should resign the 2014 fourth-round pick out of Clemson and give him yet another chance.
No offense, but are you crazy?
These are the same fans who wouldn’t spit on Antonio Brown if he was on fire. These are the same fans who would rather cut their arms off than open them wide to welcome Le’Veon Bell back to town.
Quarterback Jameis Winston, the 2015 number one overall draft pick who led the NFL in passing a year ago, as a possible backup/successor to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger? Forget about it. How about the same deal with Cam Newton, the 2011 number one over all pick who was just released by the Panthers? Nah, he dresses funny at press conferences.
But Bryant, a man who has been suspended so many times, it’s amazing he hasn’t had his high school diploma rescinded? Bring that guy back!
After all, he’s just so darn talented.
Talented he is—or at least, was. After making his debut midway through his rookie season, Bryant quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in Pittsburgh’s offense by catching 26 passes for 549 yards and eight touchdowns in just 10 games. Bryant was suspended for the first four weeks of the 2015 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, but managed to catch 50 passes for 765 yards and six touchdowns in just 11 games. And after being publicly challenged by Roethlisberger to step things up right before the postseason, Bryant caught a combined 14 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown in two playoff games—including nine receptions for 154 yards while filling in for a concussed Brown in the divisional round loss to the Broncos.
Bryant was seen crying as he walked off the field following that heartbreaking defeat.
At the time, it was thought to be a sign of maturity, that the youngster really wanted it.
As it turned out, the pull of substances off the field was stronger than the desire to be great on it, and Bryant was suspended for the entire 2016 campaign.
During his year-long absence, there was talk of maturity, of making the most of his second chance (third, really) should the NFL be gracious enough to allow him to have one.
The NFL did reinstate Bryant, but he managed to make negative noise days later, by taking to Twitter to trash teammate Sammie Coates immediately after the Steelers selected receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Speaking of social media and trashing, Bryant also did that to Smith-Schuster during the season and was subsequently deactivated for a game against the Lions.
Bryant also sulked because of his lack of production and emphasis in the offense and even demanded a trade. But maybe his lack of production had to do with the fact that he simply wasn’t that good in 2017. That’s right, the amazing potential and obvious talent that had so many Steelers fans ready to anoint Bryant as the next Randy Moss in 2014 and 2015 seemed to erode greatly by the time he returned two years later. He looked bigger—more muscular, to be fair—and lethargic, as he caught 50 passes for 603 yards and three touchdowns.
Instead of being the integral cog that was missing from the passing game in 2016, it was the rookie Smith-Schuster who was starting in Bryant's place by the second half of the 2017 season.
The following spring, during the first night of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Steelers managed to pry a third-round pick away from the Raiders in exchange for Bryant’s services.
Bryant proved to be a problem-child in Oakland, tallying just 19 receptions for 266 yards in 2018, before again being suspended for violating the terms of his reinstatement.
Bryant has again been reinstated (at least it would appear), and that is why you are starting to see a clamoring for the Steelers to bring him back into the fold.
Why? Again, what’s with the infatuation with the guy? Did he show great abilities during his first two seasons? Yes, he did, but that was a half-a-decade ago. Back in 2015, a handshake was seen as a pleasant greeting. Today, it’s considered either trolling or bio-terrorism.
In other words, that was a long time ago, and Bryant hasn’t done anything of note since—all of his “noteworthy” activities have been conducted away from the football field.
Yes, you could get him on the cheap. Yes, it would be a no-risk transaction with the burden of proof resting solely on Bryant’s shoulders that he really is a changed man.
But (and, excuse me, while I blatantly steal from Duke in the movie, Rocky II) I saw the NFL suspend that man like I never saw no man get suspended before, and the man just kept getting suspended.
We don’t need that kind of man in our life.
Let it go!
Let it go!