When former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL in late January, it was as an opportunity to resume his professional football career, which has been slowed dramatically since he was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in late 2018. But despite the fact that Bryant has had six months to get his house in order, so to speak, he remains a no-show at Argonauts training camp.
At first Toronto’s head coach, Ryan Dinwiddie, seemed sympathetic to Bryant’s situation, chalking up his absence to “passport issues.” But it has been five days since Bryant was added to the club’s suspended list, and Dinwiddie’s patience appears to be wearing thin.
“We’ve had some contact with him. I’m getting a little impatient with the thing. We need to get him up here now if he’s going to make an impact on our team,” Dinwiddie said, per 3 Down Nation, which also reports that Bryant’s $81,000 base salary with the Argonauts is at risk.
“The ball is in his court. He needs to get his passport and get those things squared away. We’ll see how that’s going to play out,” added Dinwiddie, not sounding terribly optimistic about a timely resolution.
This Spring Bryant Played for the Massachusetts Pirates
Notably, it wasn’t that long ago that Bryant, 29, last played in a competitive football game. In early April he signed with the Massachusetts Pirates of the Indoor Football League (IFL). Later that month, he made his IFL debut in a 49-18 road win over the Louisville Xtreme. The league’s official site indicates that Bryant caught two passes for 31 yards while a member of the Pirates, including one catch for 13 yards against the Xtreme.
Bryant’s Tortured NFL Journey
Yet that’s a long way down from the success he experienced in the NFL after he was drafted by the Steelers in the fourth-round of the 2014 Draft (No. 118 overall). The Clemson product caught 126 passes for 1,917 yards and 17 touchdowns during his time in Pittsburgh, but it was his inability to stay on the field that prompted the Steelers to trade him to the Raiders for a 2018 third-round pick.
More specifically, Bryant was suspended for the duration of the 2016 NFL season for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. He also received a four-game ban for violating league rules in 2015.
Finally, on Dec. 14, 2018, the NFL issued the following statement: “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 summer there was a report that Bryant had applied to the NFL for reinstatement, but that report turned out not to be true.
All told, Bryant played in 44 NFL games with 18 starts and recorded a total of 145 receptions for 2,183 yards, an average of 15.1 yards per catch. His longest reception came during his rookie year in 2014, when he produced a 94-yard TD catch against the Cincinnati Bengals.
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