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Ben Roethlisberger challenges Martavis Bryant to ‘win back everybody’s trust’

Ben Roethlisberger has challenged Martavis Bryant to “win back everybody’s trust” after the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver missed the entire 2016 NFL season due to running afoul of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Making matters worse, Bryant served a four-game suspension in 2015 for the same kind of violation.

In light of leaving the team in the lurch in consecutive seasons, Roethlisberger believes Bryant cannot expect to be welcomed back with open arms without earning it first.

“It’s more than just me. He has to win back everybody’s trust,” Roethlisberger said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I would hope he comes up to me and we go somewhere to talk in private. After that, he has to show with his work ethic and by staying clean that he cares — really cares — about us. If he does that, it’ll be huge. He can really help us. He can be so great.”

Interestingly, it’s worth noting that Big Ben has never had an issue calling out Bryant in the past (here and here).

Bryant, who was conditionally reinstated by the NFL late last month, did express remorse over not being able to play before the start of the 2016 season. But that doesn’t appear to be enough for the Steelers quarterback.

Roethlisberger conceded he “felt betrayed and even lied to” by Bryant after supporting the wideout through his first suspension only to be burned for his loyalty with the second one.

The fact that the Steelers not only persevered but prospered in Bryant’s absence — reaching the AFC Championship Game — arguably made it easier for Big Ben to take such a strong stance.

The Steelers’ strong 2016 campaign was on the sturdy shoulders of LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown. If Bryant — whose talent is unquestioned and boasts sky-high potential — can keep his nose clean and stay out of trouble, a two-headed offensive monster quickly becomes a three-headed one at the veteran Roethlisberger’s disposal.

[CBS Sports]