Some hard news has hit Steelers Nation, as it has come to light that one of the top athletes in our team has been banned due to substance abuse. Wide receiver Martavis Bryant was suspended for a one year on Monday for violating the substance abuse policy of the NFL. This was after a violation that occurred outside of football season that left him sitting out the first four games of this past season.
It is a shame Bryant resorted to substance abuse, especially at such a crucial point of his career. He stunned the Steelers Nation with how he helped lead his team this past season. He was all over the field in all the right places, especially during the playoffs, proving himself to be an invaluable offensive athlete and an incredible football player overall. His lack of presence will surely be felt in the next season, especially for the team, who considered him a key component of returning to the Super Bowl.
However, Bryant’s suspension was a long time coming, in my opinion. Based on his past suspension record, he has been struggling with substance abuse for a while. It is now known that he is suffering from depression and started coping with substance abuse. This points to a much deeper issue for the 24 year old athlete. This suspension may even be a good thing for him, as it will force him to attend rehab and clean up his act before re-entering the football world. He put his own life in danger, which is not something he should leave unaddressed, especially when working in a high-pressure environment like the NFL.
Thankfully, our Steelers are not willing to drop Bryant as a player because of his troubles. He has two more years left in his contract with the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger has reportedly been a constant source of support for the young wide receiver, telling the public that he considers Bryant to be a part of his family.
It is, of course, also in the Steelers best interests to ride out the 1 year suspension and welcome Bryant back in with open arms when he is clean, as his catch and touchdown numbers are impressive for any athlete, especially one so young. This does, however, open up the question of how this will affect the Steelers next football season. They have lost one of their best players for a year and have to compensate for the loss.
While I have a lot of faith in the Steelers, I hope that they take the necessary measures to be stronger than ever this upcoming year.