Martavis Bryant has come an awful long way since he publicly demanded that the Pittsburgh Steelers trade him back in October. Suddenly, the wide receiver wants to be back with the team in 2018.
Bryant, who is entering the final season of his rookie contract, told reporters this week that he will not ask the Steelers to trade him this offseason. Why? Because he wants to keep contending for championships.
Martavis Bryant told reporters he wants to be back next year and will be ready for OTAs. What’s changed from mid season? For one, Bryant acknowledges it would be hard to start over and wants to win a Super Bowl here.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 15, 2018
This is the same Bryant who said before the trade deadline that he wants out of Pittsburgh if he doesn’t get the ball more, and not much changed after that. He averaged around six targets and just under five receptions per game in the six games he played after making the demand. His workload increased over the final three weeks when Antonio Brown was out with a calf injury.
Perhaps Bryant realized that he has little to no leverage. He’s under contract for just over $700,000 in 2018, so the Steelers would much rather keep him and get whatever they can from him. If he wants a big contract, he’ll have to play well next season heading into free agency.
Bryant created some tension for the Steelers when he criticized a rookie teammate in an Instagram comment, but the two have since settled their differences. If he shows up to camp with a positive attitude, there’s no reason Pittsburgh will look to trade or release the 26-year-old.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping Martavis Bryant can step up this weekend with Antonio Brown sidelined due to a calf injury, but the wide receiver may need to block out some noise from his personal life in order to do that.
Earlier in the week, Le’Veon Bell posted a video on social media that appeared to show Bryant sitting next to a woman. Deja Hiott, Bryant’s girlfriend and the mother of his child, saw the clip and went ballastic, accusing Bryant of cheating.
And there's more…yikes. pic.twitter.com/eGW75SaSNW
— Mark Powell (@jim_joyce_hater) December 19, 2017
Hiott had a lot more to say on Twitter, but we won’t share most of it here due to the inappropriate content.
“I can have anybody I f—ing want because I’m such a damn good woman but A GOOD WOMAN GETS FED UP,” Hiott wrote. “Damn if you know the n—- cheating at least don’t put him on video? Y’all what this look like? (Bell) recording my boyfriend and father of my child basically caught in the act cheating. Thank you!”
Eventually, cooler heads prevailed. Bryant must have had a reasonable explanation for why he was sitting next to a woman who was unfamiliar to Hiott, because Hiott took to Twitter two days later to apologize.
When you're hurt you act on impulse. Im not too good to apologize. It's been a tough week already for me I just snapped. I apologize.
— Deja Hiott (Hi•it) (@DejaHiott) December 19, 2017
People are so quick to point fingers not knowing what somebody has been through in the span of a week that's made them blow up. My prayers are up and Pray God gives me peace.
— Deja Hiott (Hi•it) (@DejaHiott) December 20, 2017
Just want to make a public apology…I acted irrational about the situation. Martavis didn't cheat and I take full responsibility for my actions. I was very immature and wrong about this situation and the way I handled it. I'm sorry and I love him very much.
— Deja Hiott (Hi•it) (@DejaHiott) December 20, 2017
Bryant has already called plenty of negative attention to the Steelers this season, so it’s possible he asked Hiott to issue the apology.
H/T Busted Coverage
The 2017 regular season has been packed full of surprises. From a team perspective, the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants stand out for being so much better and so much worse than we expected, but it’s not just limited to those two organizations.
Yes, the Rams and Giants have gone in totally different directions than expected, but units like the New England Patriots defense have been worse than expected, and the the New York Jets have even found a way to open eyes.
But what players have contributed to all these surprises? Well, here’s a look at every NFL team’s most surprising player, good or bad, so far this season.
Arizona Cardinals – Adrian Peterson, RB
After appearing in only 20 games over his final three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, many believed the career of Adrian Peterson had reached its end. Even with another opportunity given to him by the New Orleans Saints, little changed for Peterson. He appeared in four games, gaining just 81 yards on 27 carries. Then came the trade to Arizona. Although he hasn’t exactly returned to Hall of Fame form, he has gained 369 yards in five games, providing the Cardinals with an unexpected spark on the ground.
Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan, QB
A year after winning the NFL MVP Award and leading the Falcons to the Super Bowl, Matt Ryan has hit a bit of a wall. He’s returned to 2015 form and seen his completion percentage, yards per game, touchdown to interception ratio, yards per attempt and quarterback rating all drop — some of those considerably. He threw for 38 touchdowns last season and has just 15 in 10 games this season. His passer rating has dropped from 117.1 to 95.7. To cap it off, the Falcons are 6-4 and are no shoo-in to make the playoffs.
- Adrian Amos, Adrian Peterson, Alex Collins, Alex Smith, Alvin Kamara, Calais Campbell, Carson Wentz, Case Keenum, Chris McCain, Demar Dotson, Demarcus Lawrence, Deshaun Watson, Domato Peko, Eddie Lacy, Jamal Agnew, Jared Goff, Jason McCourty, Jay Ajayi, Jeremy Hill, Josh McCown, Julius Peppers, Kevin Byard, Landon Collins, LeSean McCoy, Marquise Goodwin, Marshawn Lynch, Martavis Bryant, Matt Ryan, Rashaan Melvin, Stephon Gilmore, Terrelle Pryor, Ty Montgomery
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant said on Monday that he expects to play in Week 10 against the Indianapolis Colts, and head coach Mike Tomlin appears to share those expectations.
While speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Tomlin praised Bryant for handling his suspension with professionalism and indicated the receiver will see some opportunities on Sunday.
“He did a nice job of dealing with the suspension and working hard to get better at his craft,” Tomlin said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That being said, we’re moving forward. As in all cases, even with the injured guys, we’ll let preparation and what happens in that preparation be our guide. But I’m comfortable with the trajectory of where he is coming off the missed action.”
Bryant was previously suspended for posts on social media in which he complained about his role and took aim at some of his teammates, including JuJu Smith-Schuster.
As it stands, Bryant has fallen behind both the aforementioned Smith-Schuster, who had a big game against the Detroit Lions in Bryant’s absence, and Antonio Brown on the team’s depth chart. And in order to regain some traction and have his role increased, Bryant will need to put his head down and return to his 2015 form.
Martavis Bryant has publicly stated that he wants the Pittsburgh Steelers to trade him, and the team has maintained that it is not happening. That stance did not change at the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the Steelers received calls from teams who were interested in Bryant, but they informed them they were not dealing the 25-year-old receiver.
#Steelers WR Martavis Bryant is expected to report for practice Wednesday & PIT is not trading him, I’m told. Teams called, they said no
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 31, 2017
That meshes with a report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, who was told on Tuesday that Mike Tomlin told Bryant he will be part of the game plan when the Steelers take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10 after the bye.
Bryant was benched for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions after he criticized rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in an Instagram comment. He also openly admitted that he wants out of Pittsburgh if he isn’t going to get the ball more going forward.
Smith-Schuster caught seven passes for 193 yards — both career highs — and a touchdown in Sunday’s win over the Lions. He has earned a bigger role in the offense, and the Steelers aren’t going to just ignore him going forward. However, they must feel that Bryant is valuable enough to the team that they are not going to trade him when his value is at rock bottom.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have maintained that they will not trade Martavis Bryant despite the headache he is creating for the team, but it certainly seems like they are taking disciplinary action against the wide receiver.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Bryant was demoted to the scout team offense during Wednesday’s practice. Offensive lineman Ramon Foster said Justin Hunter took Bryant’s spot, and Bryant later told reporters that Mike Tomlin has informed him he will not play Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
Martavis Bryant said he is not playing Sunday because of his social media dealings
— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) October 25, 2017
Bryant said he is being benched because of his social media activity, which included criticizing one of his teammates in an Instagram comment and all but confirming that he wants out of Pittsburgh.
Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday that the Steelers are not considering trading Bryant, but you have to wonder how much longer this can go on. Pittsburgh is winning games and appears to be one of the best teams in the league, and Bryant is creating distractions by demanding the ball.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wants to get disgruntled wide receiver Martavis Bryant into the offense more — but he won’t make any promises.
Roethlisberger admitted Wednesday that he wants to get Bryant the ball more, but it will require Bryant to put in the hard work as well to be on the same page.
“I’m not going to be a doctor and promise I’m going to save your life,” Roethlisberger said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’m going to tell him if you’re on your details and we’re working together and I trust that you’re going to be where we’re supposed to be and you’re there, good things will happen.”
Roethlisberger does want to link up with Bryant as much as possible and find success with him.
“Hopefully, it’s lots of touchdown passes,” Roethlisberger said. “We need to get the ball to him, to everybody, we all need to score points. There are opportunities there. That’s why I told him to come talk to me. We’ve had opportunities with deep balls that were just missed whether it was me overthrowing him or it’s the Chicago game where he slows down a little bit or this last game where he doesn’t see the ball coming out of my hand.
“There are plays to be had. We just have to make them.”
Bryant has made clear that he’ll be happy — if he gets the ball. Roethlisberger’s retort seems to be that everyone wants Bryant to be successful, but it’s a two-way street.