Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant will serve a season-long suspension for a violation of the league's substance abuse policy. Bryant was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 regular season due to violations of the same policy, which is why his suspension has escalated to a full-year ban.
Bryant's previous four-game suspension was appealed, but that appeal was denied by the league. If the league feels as strongly about this ban, then it's unlikely any appeal would have been successful. Bryant initially intended to appeal the suspension, but Bryant later decided to not pursue an appeal according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The NFL said in a statement that Bryant's suspension without pay begins immediately.
It's never been stated which substance Bryant has been suspended for, but it hasn't been of the performance-enhancing substance variety, as that falls under a different policy. Bryant spent time in a rehab facility during his last suspension. Bryant will again check himself into rehab following this latest suspension, and will undergo evaluation for depression, according to one of his agents, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert issued a statement and made it clear that Bryant is expected to learn from this situation if he wants to remain in Pittsburgh after serving his suspension.
Statement from #Steelers GM Kevin Colbert re: Martavis Bryant suspension. pic.twitter.com/5F9KF5ZPmb— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) March 14, 2016
Bryan is entering his fourth year in the league and has been considered an up-and-comer at the receiver position. Expected to be a large part of Pittsburgh's offense in 2016, this hurts the team big time. Last season, playing in 11 games, he caught 50 passes for 765 yards with six touchdowns and 25 first downs.