Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant has been suspended for one year by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Martavis Bryant Suspended For One Year By NFL

One of Bryant’s agents, Brian Fettner told USA Today SportsTom Pelissero that the wide receiver missed multiple drug tests this past year.  Missed tests count the same as failed tests, and since there are multiple violations, the 24-year-old Steeler is banned for a year instead of 10 games.

Fettner said that the third year pro from Clemson is dealing with a depression issue.  “We’re all stunned, me included,” he said. “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.

“This is the biggest cry for help I’ve ever seen, and that hurts. It hurts us to see. He’s 24 years old, and he’s got to get right, whatever it is. If you talk to anybody’s family that has depression, they will be talking about these same things — the [despondence], the withdrawal, the head-in-the-sand despair — just trying to cope.”


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According to another one of Bryant’s agents, Tom Santanello, the receiver initially planned to appeal the suspension, but has since decided against the appeal.  He planned to enter rehab on Sunday, March 13.

DKPittsburghSports.com was the first to report on Bryant’s possible suspension.

This isn’t Bryant’s first suspension related to his drug use.  He was suspended for the first four games of last season after previously violating the substance abuse policy.

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert voiced the organization’s disappointment with their young playmaker.  “He is at a crossroads of his professional life, and he needs to understand significant changes need to occur in his personal life if he wants to regain his career as a Pittsburgh Steeler.

“We are hopeful that Martavis will take the necessary steps to develop the discipline in his personal life to become a successful player and a good teammate.”

After being selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft (118th overall), the speedy, 6’5” wideout missed the first six games of his rookie season due to injury, but quickly erupted onto the scene in Week 7.  His first career reception went for 35 yards and a score against the Houston Texans.  He scored an NFL record six touchdowns in his first four games, and finished his shortened rookie season with 26 receptions, 549 yards, and 8 touchdowns.

After serving his four game suspension this past season, Bryant missed his first eligible game with a knee injury.  During his second consecutive shortened season, Bryant managed to snag 6 touchdowns on 50 receptions for 765 yards.  His 14 touchdowns in his first two seasons rank fourth in Steelers’ history for wide receivers behind Louis Lipps, Mike Wallace and Buddy Dial.

In Bryant’s absence, Pittsburgh will once again have to lean on All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown, who piled up 37 receptions, 523 yards, and two touchdowns in the five games without Bryant last season.  Brown finished tied for the league lead with 136 catches, ranked second in yards with 1,834, and hauled in 10 touchdowns.

The Steelers also re-signed Darrius Heyward-Bey and reached an agreement with free agent tight end Ladarius Green to help take pressure off quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Le’Veon Bell.

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