Tom Pelissero of USA Today reported Jan. 17 that Bryant was set to file for reinstatement, with an eye toward a 2017 return. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported Saturday the wideout's agent, Tom Santanello, confirmed the papers have officially been filed.
Bryant was suspended for a minimum of one year for a violation of the league's substance-abuse policy. He'd previously received a four-game suspension in 2015 under the same policy.
The 25-year-old spoke with Jacob Feldman of Sports Illustrated in mid-January about what he's changed during his time away from the sport, including a move to Henderson, Nevada:
My way got me in trouble. I cut my circles down. I hadn't really been paying attention to how many people were around me. It feels really quiet now. I love that.
The hardest part was losing my house in Hermosa Beach. It took about a week to move out. My agents recommended I get away from L.A. and refocus. I was against it at first, but it turned out to be a great thing. I was so stuck on L.A. Here, there's not much to do. I don't go to the Strip that much, mainly just spending time with my girl and my dog.
Bryant added: "I know I'm on my last chance. I've been watching what happened with Josh Gordon, [Johnny] Manziel, Justin Blackmon."
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted Steelers President Art Rooney II had expressed concern about the receiver's outlook even before his year away from the game. Last January, Rooney talked about trying to get Bryant to realize his potential.
"Martavis is a player who has tremendous ability and potential, and we just have to continue to work with him to make sure he takes care of his business off the field and puts himself in a position to be as great a player that he can be," he said. "We hope the experience he had earlier this season will have an impact on him."
The Clemson product, whom the Steelers selected in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, is under contract for one more season with a reasonable cap hit of just under $800,000. That improves his chances of making the team should he receive NFL reinstatement.
Bryant showcased plenty of upside across his first two years in Pittsburgh. He caught 76 passes, including 14 touchdown grabs, in 21 games. He'll need to battle Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates and Cobi Hamilton, among others, for playing time opposite Antonio Brown if he returns next season.