Divorce is an ugly street. When relationships end, the good tends to get overlooked. Figuring out who gets what is left to lawyers, and people who don't have attachments to the property, but for the Pittsburgh Steelers, their relationship with troubled wide receiver Martavis Bryant should also be at its end. There should be a clear message sent by ownership, and its head coach, to a player who clearly doesn't want to play nice in the sandbox.
It's time for you to go.
The evolution of the 2017 season has been one that very few, if any, thought would go the way it has. The offense, which many felt would lead the league in every statistical category, hasn’t had the punch people expected. The defense was better than many had also counted on. A secondary which was once picked apart almost weekly by quarterbacks has quietly gone out and performed at a high level, slowing down opposing teams to gaining just 4.7 yards per attempt. The Steelers dominated the 2nd half of play vs. Cincinnati on Sunday, holding the Bengals to just 19 yards of total offense and forcing two turnovers in the 29-14 win. At 5-2, the Black & Gold have the top record in the AFC. If the playoffs were to start today, they would own the top seed and have a 1st round bye. Ben Roethlisberger has bounced back from his 5-pick effort against Jacksonville three weeks ago. He's averaged 10 yards per pass since then, and that's a big positive. But for some reason, the good vibes the Steelers are having as of today don't seem to be rubbing off on Bryant who thinks this is about him.
The ‘me’ show.
Time to show him the door. To show there is no room for this behavior, period. There can't be. The Steelers are poised to make a run at a 7th Vince Lombardi Trophy. The last real shot at glory with a Hall of Fame quarterback, offensive weapons at the ready and what appeared to be an improved defense. And this included Martavis Bryant back to use.
Too bad his usage involves Instagram and Twitter. His ego, clearly bruised by his lack of production through seven games, has shown Bryant doesn't want to be part of the fun, and for that reason, he must go.
Now, you may say that's a bad idea. That his presence alone on a field draws a 2nd defender and allows a kid like JuJu Smith-Schuster to get loose in single coverage situations, like the one Sunday. That cutting him would put the team at a disadvantage.
This club can win without him. Perhaps his presence on the field does free up Antonio Brown and others to draw single coverage, but I don't see that changing much, even with him gone.
For years Mike Tomlin has been known as a 'players coach' being able to relate to the people he's preparing to go into battle. At his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Tomlin reiterated his, and the club's, stance on not trading Bryant saying 'We've invested a lot in Martavis since we drafted him. He's not available via trade.”
Do you think Bill Belichick would put up with something like this?
You know the answer to that question.
The Steelers have set a precedent before in cutting ties with a disgruntled player and getting nothing in return. Remember LeGarrette Blount’s 2014 disappearing act before the end of the team’s win over the Tennessee Titans on Monday night?
They’ve done it before, and I think the Steelers should do it again. Time to send a message. Will they do it? It is doubtful, and you have to wonder if this will just become the new norm in the Steel City.