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Martavis Bryant to Enter Rehabilitation Center, Undergo Depression Evaluation

Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant (10) waits to run a drill during an NFL football practice, in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. The Steelers face the Denver Broncos with star receiver Antonio Brown in an NFL Divisional playoff football game in Denver on Sunday. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2016

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant will enter a rehabilitation center to undergo evaluation for depression. 

Brian Fettner, one of Bryant's agents, told Tom Pelissero of USA Today about the star wideout's decision to seek professional help: "We clearly miscalculated the issue. His isn't a party issue. It's a coping issue and a depression issue, and he's got to take care of it."

Bryant's decision to enter a rehab facility comes hours after Dejan Kovacevic of DK Pittsburgh Sports reported Bryant was facing a potential season-long suspension from the NFL. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport confirmed the report, adding the looming suspension is for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

Bryant plans to appeal the suspension, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, but there are bigger issues in play for the 24-year-old.

Fettner told Pelissero that Bryant's possible suspension is the result of Bryant missing multiple drug tests, which counts as failed tests under the NFL's drug policy:

This is the biggest cry for help I've ever seen. And that hurts. It hurts us to see. He's 24 years old and he's got to get right, whatever it is. If you talk to anybody's family that has depression, they will be talking about these same things—the (despondence), the withdrawal, the head-in-the-sand despair—just trying to cope.

Fettner also said Bryant has "a long road to earn people's trust back" but that he isn't concerned with that right now because the goal is "to get him healthy."

Bryant was suspended for the first four games of last season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Per Rapoport (h/t Conor Orr of NFL.com), he spent three weeks in counseling while he was away from the Steelers.

There's no denying the impact Bryant has on Pittsburgh's offense. The former Clemson star has averaged 17.3 yards per reception in his career, including an NFL-best 21.1 yards per catch as a rookie in 2014 (minimum 25 catches).

Football only lasts so long, however, even for the best players. Bryant taking steps to make sure he's healthy is all that matters right now.

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