Martavis Bryant Reinstated for 2017 Regular Season After Yearlong Suspension

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2017

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant warms up before of an NFL preseason football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Don Wright/Associated Press

Wide receiver Martavis Bryant is officially back with the Pittsburgh Steelers.             

The NFL announced it reinstated the playmaker for the 2017 regular season Friday, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, ending the suspension that forced him to miss the 2016 campaign.

Bryant was suspended for at least a year without pay in March 2016 for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. The league then conditionally reinstated him to play in the 2017 preseason, and he caught two passes for 20 yards against the Atlanta Falcons in his first game action since the suspension.

"The game speed is still the same," Bryant said after the contest Aug. 20, per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "You just got to adjust, and I'll be good. I don't feel like anything changed. I just have to get myself and my teammates to get better for the season. I'm just happy after last year to be out there."

The reinstatement process wasn't always smooth during the offseason.

Last month, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert once had to stop Bryant from practicing even after he was dressed and ready to go because the league was still reviewing his conditional reinstatement.

That is now in the past, and Bryant can focus on joining his teammates and helping lead the Steelers to their fourth straight postseason appearance.

He played 10 games as a rookie in 2014 and notched 26 catches for 549 yards and eight touchdowns, and he built on his production the following season with 50 receptions for 765 yards and six touchdowns. He appeared well on his way to establishing himself as a consistent weapon in the offensive attack before the suspension and will look to rediscover his form following his reinstatement.

Bryant joins an already-loaded offense featuring wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le'Veon Bell and should find himself in plenty of single-coverage situations this season. Pittsburgh will be more than glad to have him back if he takes advantage of opposing defenders and posts impressive numbers.

The Steelers' first regular-season game is Sept. 10 against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.


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