Martavis Bryant needs help. And he needs it fast. Drugs continue to fuel Martavis Bryant’s downward spiral to a dangerous level.
Last August when news broke that Martavis Bryant would miss the first four games of the season due to repeatedly failing the NFL’s policies regarding marijuana use, Martavis Bryant said all the right things and took all the right actions.
- Words were important then, because acknowledging an addiction is the first step to beating it.
Fans can debate the wisdom of the NFL’s substance abuse policies as they apply to pot specialists can haggle over the finer points of whether marijuana is addictive or not, but as Rebecca Rollet said on Going Deep with the Steelers, if you risk losing your job for using pot and you continue to use, you’ve got an addiction.
- And so it is with Martavis Bryant.
News broke on Saturday the March 12th that Martavis Bryant is facing a year long suspension for additional violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The on the field implications of this news for the Steelers can wait for later. This pieces concerns the implications for this news for Martavis Bryant the person.
When news of his first suspension broke last August, Steel Curtain Rising suggested that the tragedies of Tim Worley, Bam Morris and Eric Green offered a cautionary tale, and asked if Bryant could break out of the self-destructive spiral.
- Sadly, the self-destructive spiral seems to have seized Bryant full-force.
Just consider some of what transpired since Bryant returned from his suspension:
- He transformed a possession extending check down pass into a 88 yard game-sealing touchdown in his first game back.
- Displayed incredible determination and concentration in scoring the Steelers only touchdown in their first playoff win in 5 years
- Racked up just under 200 total yards in the Steelers playoff loss to Denver
Following the Broncos game, there were no shortage of NFL analysts saying that Bryant had Randy Moss like talent. That game proved that such comparisons were accurate. Bryant dominated in a game that saw Antonio Brown out, the Steelers playing their 4th and 5th string running backs, and Ben Roethlisberger at less than 100%.
More importantly, Bryant gave all the signs of someone who had settled down. As Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reported, in December Bryant stood in the Steelers locker room and “…spoke softly but excitedly about his daughters getting snow at Christmas for the first time. He sounded like a guy who wanted to make a home in Pittsburgh. You wanted to believe it.”
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Chris Adamiski shared something similar:
Day after the season ended, I asked Martavis Bryant how he'd use his tumultuous 2015 to ensure 2016 would be better: pic.twitter.com/8fBi90DWQi
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) March 12, 2016
Now all of that is at risk.
The NFL’s drug guidelines indicate that Bryant’s next failed test would lead to a 10 game suspension. The fact that he’s facing a year suspension implies he failed two tests.
And for those of you counting, Bryant has now failed 6 drug tests. Following his four drug test and suspension Bryant sought conseling and advice from renowned former NBA player John Lucas. This was the right, move, but clearly it wasn’t enough.
His agent Brian Fettner confirmed that Bryant would enter rehab be evaluated for depression, confiding “We’re all stunned, me included. 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.” Whether his addiction is rooted in depression or something else, Martavis Bryant clearly has demons he must struggle with.
Teammate Will Allen suggested on Twitter:
That would seem to good advice for Steelers Nation.