Martavis Bryant upon return to Steelers: ‘I know this is my last chance’
Martavis Bryant on Tuesday took part in a Pittsburgh Steelers practice for the first time in 16 months during the team’s OTA session. And the gifted wideout, whose career has been detoured by multiple suspensions due to violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, recognizes one more mistake could effectively end his career.
“I know this is my last chance,” Bryant said following Tuesday’s OTA session, via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “I put the right people around me. I have things set up in place for me to succeed and maintain my sobriety. As long as I continue to pass my tests, do what I have to do for my family and take care of my business here, I’ll be fine.”
Bryant, 25, 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 a similar violation.
Bryant claims to have been substance-free for “a whole year.” The NFL cleared Bryant for conditional reinstatement last month, and to be fully eligible for games he must first complete a rehabilitation program administered by the league.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been vocal in his criticisms of Bryant in light of his multiple suspensions. Just last month Roethlisberger stressed the onus is on Bryant to “win back everybody’s trust” upon his return.
According to Bryant — who expressed remorse last fall after his suspension — changes made in his life should help him avoid going astray once again.
“I changed my whole life around compared to how I used to be,” Bryant said. “I developed better habits, also who I hang around. I’m a family man. I just had a son (Cali King Alexander Bryant), he’s 7 weeks. After here, I’m going straight home to him. It’s really me developing my life and getting back on track.”
The Steelers’ strong 2016 campaign was led by outstanding play from LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown. If Bryant — whose talent and potential is unquestioned — can stay out of trouble, that dynamic duo can become a terrifying trio under the leadership of the veteran Roethlisberger.