Former Steelers, Raiders Wide Receiver Signs With Toronto Argonauts

Martavis Bryant

Getty Martavis Bryant of the Pittsburgh Steelers attempts to make a catch during the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in January 2018.

On Monday the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL announced that they have signed former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant.

Bryant, who recently turned 29, has been out of the NFL since December 14, 2018. On that day the NFL advised: “Effective immediately, Martavis Bryant has been returned to the Reserve/Commissioner Suspended list for violating the terms of his April 2017 conditional reinstatement under the Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.”

Last June a report indicated that Bryant had applied to the NFL for reinstatement, but that turned out not to be true. He remains suspended indefinitely, which explains the move to the CFL.


Bryant Played Well for the Steelers but Repeatedly Ran Afoul of the League’s Substance Abuse Policy

Unfortunately for all involved, Bryant never maximized his potential in the NFL, as he was repeatedly suspended by the league for substance abuse issues. Prior to his 2018 indefinite suspension, he had been suspended three times in four seasons, including for the entire 2016 season after multiple substance abuse policy violations and then most recently in September 2018, according to the NFL.

After being drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft — No. 118 overall out of Clemson — Bryant played in a total of 36 games with the Steelers, including 16 starts. During those games he caught 126 passes for 1,917 yards and 17 touchdowns (15.2 yards per reception).

Three of those catches went for touchdowns of 80-plus yards, as you can see from the highlight reel below.

VideoVideo related to former steelers, raiders wide receiver signs with toronto argonauts2021-01-25T14:13:36-05:00

That helps explain why the Steelers were unwilling to give up on him … until the Oakland Raiders offered a third-round draft pick — a selection that was later used to trade up in the third round to select quarterback Mason Rudolph.

But Bryant struggled to make an impact for Jon Gruden’s Raiders. In eight games he made only two starts, catching just 19 passes for 266 yards and zero touchdowns before landing on injured reserve with a knee injury.

Bryant’s NFL career totals stand at 145 receptions for 2,183 yards and 17 touchdowns. In college at Clemson University (2011-2013) he caught 61 passes for 1,354 yards and 13 touchdowns in 37 games.


Former Steelers Receiver Eli Rogers Has Also Signed With a CFL Team

Eli Rogers

GettyEli Rogers #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs upfield after a catch during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018.

Meanwhile, former Steelers receiver Eli Rogers — who played alongside Bryant in Pittsburgh — has signed with the Montreal Alouettes.

Rogers, who is 5-foot-10 and 186 pounds, spent four years with the Steelers, coming into the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Louisville.

The 28-year-old Miami native played in 30 games for Pittsburgh (15 starts), hauling in 78 passes for 822 yards and four touchdowns. He also served as a punt returner, totaling 26 returns for 191 yards, a 7.3 average.

Last year, he appeared in five games for the DC Defenders of the XFL, rushing the ball three times for 25 yards and catching 14 passes for 146 yards.


Bryant & Rogers Will Face Each Other in 3 CFL Matchups This Season

CFL Grey Cup Championship Game

GettyMounties bring in the Grey Cup before the CFL’s Grey Cup in 2018.

The 2021 CFL preseason begins on Sunday, May 23, and the regular season gets underway on Thursday, June 10. Bryant and Rogers will face each other when Toronto and Montreal play each other on Thursday, July 15; Friday, September 17; and in the season finale for both teams on Saturday, October 30.

In 2019, Montreal went 10-8 while Toronto won just four of 18 games, finishing second and third in the CFL’s East Division, respectively.

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