The Pittsburgh Steelers are stuck in between a rock and a hard place. The Steelers, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, officially announced that wide receiver Martavis Bryant will serve a year long suspension without pay.
Bryant, who was one of the powerhouses of the Steelers offense last season, will now be absent from all team related activities for the 2016 season, beginning immediately. According to one of Bryant’s agents, Brian Fettner, Bryant will be admitted to rehab and said that the two-year veteran receiver is battling depression.
“We’re all stunned, me included,” Fettner said in a statement to USA Today Sports. “We clearly miscalculated the issue. His isn’t a party issue. It’s a coping issue and a depression issue, and he’s got to take care of it. This is the biggest cry for help I’ve ever seen, and that hurts. It hurts us to see. He’s 24 years old, and he’s got to get right, whatever it is. If you talk to anybody’s family that has depression, they will be talking about these same things — the [despondence], the withdrawal, the head-in-the-sand despair — just trying to cope.”
Bryant has faced a lot of criticism for his actions. The Rooney family is currently figuring out how to deal with Bryant’s situation. The Rooney’s carry a “no-nonsense” agenda and have cemented themselves as one of the stricter teams in the NFL when it comes to player’s actions.
Art Rooney II, back in January, said he was worried about Bryant. “Martavis is a player who has tremendous ability and potential, and we just have to continue to work with him to make sure he takes care of his business off the field and puts himself in a position to be as great a player that he can be. … We hope the experience he had (last) season will have an impact on him.”
Bryant appeared in 11 games last season, starting five games. He finished off the regular season with 50 receptions for 765 yards, and scored six touchdowns. Bryant also scored one rushing touchdown and carried the ball five times for 37 yards. Bryant also fumbled the ball once, losing possession of the ball.
The Steelers have Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Sammie Coats on their roster. There are still a number of receivers in the free agency pool and there are plenty of receivers in the 2016 NFL Draft class. The Steelers expect Coats and Heyward-Bey, who back up Wheaton and Brown, to step up. However, it’s also very clear that the Steelers need to pick up another receiver or two very soon.
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