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Martavis Bryant reinstated by NFL after serving year-long ban

Bryant will return to the field in 2017.

NFL: AFC Divisional-Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL reinstated Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant on a conditional basis in April, and he has met the conditions that prevented him from practicing in training camp. The Steelers announced in August that Bryant was allowed to participate fully in practice and was one step closer to being cleared to play in the regular season.

On Friday, he officially completed the final terms of his suspension and was cleared fully.

“Martavis Bryant has been informed by the NFL that he is now permitted to participate in all preseason activities, including practices and games,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert announced in August. “He will continue to be evaluated as to his readiness to participate in regular-season activities under the terms of his conditional reinstatement.”

Bryant’s conditional reinstatement in April allowed him to rejoin the team, but didn’t allow him to participate in practices and games.

“Bryant may join the Steelers at the training facility and participate in meetings, conditioning work and similar activities,” the Steelers announced in April. “Once arrangements have been confirmed regarding Bryant’s clinical resources in Pittsburgh, he will be permitted to participate in all preseason activities, including practices and games.

“Prior to the start of the regular season, the NFL will review Bryant’s progress. Based on his compliance and engagement with his program and resources, he will be permitted to participate in all regular season activities beginning in Week 1. He will be evaluated later in the season for full reinstatement.”

Bryant, 25, served a year-long suspension for multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The first came before the 2015 season when he slapped with a four-game suspension. He tried to appeal it, but the NFL denied it and Bryant spent time in a rehab facility during this suspension.

Following the 2015 season, Bryant violated the policy again, which led to a one-year suspension without pay from the NFL.

The Steelers have been waiting a long time for the NFL to make a decision on whether or not Bryant will return to the field in 2017. Now that he’s reinstated, Pittsburgh can divert its attention on getting him re-acclimated to football.

“We appreciate that he has taken the necessary steps in an effort to get his personal life in order,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said. “We also understand this is just the beginning as he works to return to the team and meet all of the conditions of his reinstatement.”

In two seasons with Pittsburgh, the young receiver hauled in 76 passes for 1,314 yards and 14 touchdowns. Not only was Bryant a valuable red-zone target for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, he was a deep threat, averaging 17.3 yards per reception in his career.

Once Bryant shakes off the rust from being away from football for a year, he will provide Pittsburgh with what it’s been lacking in his absence: A big-bodied receiver who can win 50-50 balls.