Just when it appeared all was right in Pittsburgh after a week of drama with Martavis Bryant, we were proved wrong. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said a source close to Bryant told him, “He wants out. Point blank.”
Bryant says he wants out of Pittsburgh if his role in the Steelers' offense doesn't change, according to Fowler. Bryant said he needs to support his family. However, if the Steelers choose not to trade Bryant, he is prepared to play out his contract and leave after the 2018 season.
That may be what he’s forced to do. Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that a trade is not on the table.
Tomlin on Martavis Bryant: We've invested a lot in Martavis. He's not available via trade— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) October 24, 2017
Tomlin also said that the situation is “somewhat of a distraction,” and that it’s not “high on my damn agenda,” according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The Steelers have played some of their best football the past two weeks, knocking off the Chiefs and Bengals. However, Bryant wasn’t a big part of those wins. After denying rumors that he wanted a trade, he seems unable to help himself, as he took a shot at rookie teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster on Instagram:
According to ProFootballTalk, the Instagram comment was edited and now reads:
“JuJu is the future and got great talent and is going to be one of the best to play this game. I want him to get his. I just want mines, period, point-blank. Ain’t nobody did nothing to get me back. I worked my ass off to get myself back with no help and little support, period. In due time the process will show.”
It’s not the first time Bryant has gone after a teammate on social media. In April, a fan tweeted to Bryant that the Steelers drafted his replacement in Smith-Schuster, to which he responded that it was Sammie Coates’ replacement.
Head coach Mike Tomlin then intervened:
Bryant missed the entire 2016 season serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He came into the 2017 as the WR2 behind Antonio Brown, but the Steelers’ receiving numbers suggest otherwise.
Bryant is third in the team in targets and receptions behind Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, which doesn’t seem bad. But having to compete with your team’s running back for targets certainly has to be a frustrating point for him.
In the past two weeks, he’s gotten three and two targets respectively. That’ll only make matters worse, especially when it appears everyone else around him is doing just fine and happy with the team’s success.
Bryant has 18 receptions for 234 yards and a touchdown on the season. While he hasn’t put up the big numbers that we know he’s capable of, if tensions get bad enough between him and the Steelers, there’s no question another team would welcome his services.