To suggest the Pittsburgh Steelers are at the end of their proverbial rope with Martavis Bryant might be an understatement. After standing behind him with his 4-game suspension to start the 2015 season, the team remains in his corner after he now has to sit out at least the 2016 NFL season, but their stance is hardly as strong as previously.
Rightfully so, too. After all, how many times are you going to allow a young man to burn such a storied, and proud, franchise like the Steelers? Many fans wanted Bryant released as soon as news of the one year ban became public. Most cited Santonio Holmes being traded to the New York Jets as a perfect example, but things which Bryant has on his side are upside, and a very friendly contract.
As pointed out on BTSC Monday morning, the Steelers keeping Bryant really is no risk to the organization, outside of the public eye. Bryant is being suspended without pay, which the Steelers recoup throughout the process. While all of this is semantics, when the Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert released a statement on the situation, it spoke volumes.
"We are very disappointed that Martavis Bryant has put himself in this current situation of being suspended by the League. He is at a crossroads of his professional life, and he needs to understand significant changes need to occur in his personal life if he wants to regain his career as a Pittsburgh Steeler. We are hopeful that Martavis will take the necessary steps to develop the discipline in his personal life to become a successful player and a good teammate."
Doesn't get more cut and dry than that for the third year receiver out of Clemson. What isn't written, but certainly will take place, are players like Markus Wheaton, Sammie Coates and Darrius Heyward-Bey looking at this as an opportunity. Coates to prove he can fill Bryant's shoes, Wheaton to prove maybe he is the receiver who should get a contract extension to stay in Pittsburgh long-term and Heyward-Bey to show he can still stretch the field with the best of them.
Needless to say, fans and the organization are not happy about Bryant's shortcomings, and if he doesn't get himself right he certainly will find himself unemployed.