Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bryant Looks to Earn Back Team's Trust Receiver Makes Lifestyle Adjustments with Hopes of Returning to the Field

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bryant Looks to Earn Back Team's Trust Receiver Makes Lifestyle Adjustments with Hopes of Returning to the Field

Article excerpt

Martavis Bryant walked off the Steelers practice field for the first time in 16 months, 10 pounds heavier yet looking and sounding as if the weight of the world was off his shoulders.

"I changed my whole life around compared to how I used to be," he promised.

Of course, the gifted wide receiver made promises before, to Ben Roethlisberger and other teammates after the NFL suspended him four games to start the 2015 season. Then, he violated those promises and the NFL drug policy again and was suspended for a full year.

Why should any of them believe him now? There's only one way for that trust to return: Bryant will have to earn it. He says he knows that.

"Everything is earned, not given," Bryant told a swarm of media just off the practice field as the Steelers completed their first practice of the spring. "All I can do is just take care of my business and do what I have to do off the field. And as long as I do that they will see the change and everything how I changed my ways.

"As long as I pass my test, go to meetings and maintain my sobriety, that will be fine. . I know it's my last chance."

Bryant had a son seven weeks ago. The child is with him in Pittsburgh, where Bryant will live, be drug tested two or three times a week and attend a meeting with a therapist twice a week. One slip-up, and it all would come crashing down.

"I developed better habits," Bryant stated. "Also who I hang around. I'm a family man."

Bryant's last game was one of his best - he caught nine passes for 154 yards in the Steelers' 23-16 playoff loss at Denver that ended their 2015 season on Jan. 17, 2016. He was suspended for the second time by the NFL two months later for one year.

A fourth-round draft pick in 2014, he did not play as a rookie until the seventh game of the season. It did not take long after that for him to establish himself as a game-breaker. He finished that season with 48 receptions in just 10 games for a 21.1 yards per catch average and eight touchdowns. …

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