The league announced that it punished Bryant on Monday following a violation of its substance-abuse policy, per Marc Sessler of NFL.com. The suspension is for a minimum of a year and is without pay.
After the news broke, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert issued a statement on Bryant, via team spokesman Burt Lauten:
Burt Lauten @SteelersPRBurt
Statement from #Steelers GM Kevin Colbert re: Martavis Bryant suspension. https://t.co/5F9KF5ZPmb3/14/2016, 6:57:18 PM
On March 12, one of Bryant's agents, Brian Fettner, told USA Today's Tom Pelissero his client plans to enter a rehabilitation facility and will be evaluated for possible depression.
"We're all stunned, me included," Fettner said. "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. This is the biggest cry for help I've ever seen. And that hurts. It hurts us to see."
Fettner also confirmed to Jason Mackey of DKPittsburghSports.com that Bryant missed multiple drug tests, which resulted in his suspension. He earned a four-game ban to start the 2015 season for "multiple failed marijuana tests," per Rapoport (h/t Kevin Patra of NFL.com). In the league drug policy, a missed test carries the same consequences as a failed test.
Bryant is one of the Steelers' most dynamic playmakers. He caught 50 passes for 765 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games last year. During his first two years in the league, he has averaged 17.3 yards a reception. As ESPN's Trey Wingo noted, though, Bryant's suspension-related absence last season compounded Pittsburgh's personnel issues:
trey wingo @wingoz
Martavis Bryant 1 of the killer B's in Pittsburgh. But thru injury & suspension Bryant, Ben, Bell and Brown were together for only 16 snaps3/14/2016, 3:35:35 PM
According to Rapoport, Bryant can apply for reinstatement back into the league 60 days from when the suspension is set to end.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!