There was a pretty large level of excitement from the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans after wide receiver Martavis Bryant was conditionally reinstated back in April. Unfortunately, a conditional reinstatement for Bryant hasn’t equated to him being able to actually practice with his teammates throughout 2017 training camp.
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert says Bryant is able to participate in all preseason activities.
To make matters even worse, an exact timeframe of when Bryant could be allowed back on the field seems completely up in the air as well. As Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he currently has “no idea” when the NFL will clear the wideout to return to practice.
It’s a messy and overall just confusing situation. It’s also one that has to have both Bryant and the team pretty frustrated at this point. The 2017 NFL preseason is set to begin officially on Wednesday night, and there’s been no word from the league officially.
With that said, there have been a few conflicting reports that came this past week which goes against what Tomlin said on Wednesday. The first came from Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday, August 6, who stated that the Steelers believe that Bryant will be cleared for a return during the current week.
Bryant was suspended for the entire 2016 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. During his first two seasons with the Steelers, he was an electrifying playmaker who stretched the field in a big way. During the 10 games he played during his rookie season he averaged 21.1 yards per reception, which resulted in him racking up 549 yards and eight touchdowns on just 26 catches. Then in 2015 he played in 11 games and caught 50 passes for 765 yards and six additional scores.
His talent is unquestionable, and it seems that he’s only gotten better in every year since his first on the field with the Clemson Tigers back in 2011. It almost seems like a foregone conclusion that some decision should be coming down sooner than later. For now, though, it’s just a waiting game for both Bryant and the Steelers as the team prepares for the 2017 season and what they hope will be a Super Bowl push this year.