Ex-Steelers WR Martavis Bryant Jumps to New League, Prompting Release From CFL

Martavis Bryant

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Martavis Bryant of the Pittsburgh Steelers catches a touchdown pass in front of Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots on December 17, 2017.

On Tuesday May 3, former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant was released by the Edmonton Elks of the CFL — as per 3 Down Nation — making the Elks the second CFL team to cut him in the past six months. Bryant’s release comes just days after he joined the Beasts of the Fan Controlled Football (FCF) league, making the move in the middle of the FCF season alongside his cousin, former Clemson and Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant.

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Martavis Bryant Has Bounced From League to League Since Leaving the NFL

If recent history is any indication, Bryant may not be long for the Fan Controlled Football league.

Bryant was signed by the Toronto Argonauts in January 2021 but spent last season on the club’s suspended list after he failed to report to training camp, ostensibly held back by passport issues. He was released by the Argonauts in December but got a second chance to make a name for himself in Canada when he got signed by the Edmonton Elks on February 28, 2022, for whom he never played a down.

Never mind Bryant’s promises that big things were ahead for him in Edmonton.

“I know I still got it. It’s not about proving to people what I can still do. I’m doing this for me and my family. I’m not worried about the outsiders looking in,” Bryant told Chris Rosvoglou of The Spun in March 2022.

That mirrors what Bryant told 3 Down Nation that same month, promising that Elks fans would see “the same thing you’ve seen in the NFL. I’m going to give it my all, make some big plays and be there for my teammates.”

Fact is, though, that Bryant hasn’t played much football since being suspended indefinitely by the NFL in December 2018.

He did, however, play a few games for the Massachusetts Pirates of the Indoor Football League (IFL) last year, a long way down from the heights he experienced in the NFL after being a fourth-round pick of the Steelers in 2014.

Over the course of three seasons in Pittsburgh, the Clemson product played in 36 games, per Pro Football Reference, making a total of 16 starts. During those games he caught 126 passes for 1,917 yards and 17 touchdowns (15.2 yards per reception). That includes three touchdown catches of 80+ yards and several other spectacular TD receptions, all of which are included in the following highlight video:

The Steelers went on to trade Bryant to the Raiders for a third-round pick in the 2018 draft, a selection that went to the Seattle Seahawks as part of a deal that allowed Pittsburgh to move up to No. 76 overall to draft quarterback Mason Rudolph. Bryant appeared in just eight games and caught a mere 19 passes for the Raiders before his NFL journey came to an end.

Now the South Carolina native will have a chance to return to action when the Beasts (1-2) take on the winless Zappers on Saturday May 7. The Beasts are owned by former Bills, Seahawks and Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch; the team name, of course, is a reference to Lynch’s nickname, Beast Mode.

Quarterback Tre Ford Selected in the Top 10 of the CFL Draft

On the same day the Edmonton Elks released Martavis Bryant, they also selected University of Waterloo quarterback Tre Ford No. 8 overall in the 2022 CFL Draft. In April, the Steelers — as well as the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns — were said to be “considering” the 2021 Hec Crighton Trophy Winner, thanks to athletic ability that makes him vaguely reminiscent of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Ford has been invited to Baltimore’s rookie minicamp, which is scheduled to be held May 7-9, 2022.

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