Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday that the team knew wide receiver Martavis Bryant could be suspended before the NFL draft, and that was part of the reason it selected Sammie Coates in the third round.
Bryant was suspended four games last week for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. He failed multiple drug tests for marijuana, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported, prompting questions as to why the failed tests had not been heard of.
The Steelers knew about the possibility of a four-game suspension for Bryant “as far back as the spring,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac reported.
Tomlin says team knew abt possibility of Bryant suspension for awhile, part of reason they drafted Sammie Coates.— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) September 1, 2015
Tomlin on Bryant: "he's got issues that he's dealing with that are bigger than football."— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) September 1, 2015
In 10 games as a rookie last season, Bryant caught 26 passes for 549 yards and eight touchdowns, leading the NFL with 21.1 yards per catch.
After his appeal was denied, Bryant joined Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell on the suspended list. Bell will miss two games after his suspension following his arrest last summer on DUI and drug charges was reduced from four games.
Coates was the Steelers’ third-round pick in May and the only receiver Pittsburgh drafted. Over three seasons at Auburn, Coates caught 82 passes for 1,757 yards and 13 touchdowns.
- Mike Fiammetta