Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant faces a yearlong suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, according to multiple reports.
The news was first reported by Dejan Kovacevic of DKPittsburghSports.com. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport confirmed the news and adds that Bryant will appeal his suspension. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Bryant’s agent says the receiver learned of the potential suspension this week.
USA TODAY reports Bryant will check into rehab and undergo depression evaluation.
“We’re all stunned, me included,” Brian Fettner, one of Bryant’s agents told USA Today. “We clearly miscalculated the issue. His isn’t a party issue. It’s a coping issue and a depression issue, and he’s got to take care of it.”
Bryant, 24, was suspended the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the league’s substance policy. His appeal of that suspension was upheld. He returned to contribute to Pittsburgh’s postseason run, catching 50 passes and six touchdowns in 11 games. Under the league’s policy, a second substance abuse violation results in a full-year suspension.
If Bryant misses the season, the Steelers would be without one of their top targets alongside star wideout Antonio Brown. Over his first two NFL seasons, Bryant, a fourth-round selection in 2014, has caught 76 passes for 1,314 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Bryant made a memorable touchdown catch in the 2015 postseason during a crazy Steelers win against the Bengals.