Steelers Wide Receiver Martavis Bryant Lacks Not In Motivation

New Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant may not start a game as a rookie in 2014. There are questions about his game, most immediately his ability to digest a new offense right away. Others have more concerns about his hands than I do.

When it comes to motivation, on the other hand, I think he has all that the motivation that he needs, and they go by the names of Brooke and London—his daughters.

Brooke, his older daughter, turned three years old in September, while London was born December 17, 2012. Bryant was a senior in high school when Brooke was conceived.

Fathering two children with two different women before he could legally drink makes some question Bryant’s maturity and sense of responsibility, but it seems it’s his children that have helped him mature over the past year and a half.

“I think about them 24/7, really, to be honest to you. That’s who I do it for. They’re always on my mind”. That is what Bryant told Aaron Brenner of The Post and Courierback in September. “My kids. My family. Just gotta take care of them. Can’t let them down. That’s the only thing that makes me happy, and keeps me going”.

Just a week before London was born came one of the lowest points in Bryant’s life, when he was suspended from playing in Clemson’s bowl game. Coach Dabo Swinney said that he was “defiant about going to study hall”, which led to the university determining that he was academically ineligible to play.

This came after Bryant was suspended for a game earlier in the season for making a throat-slashing gesture on the field. Whether or not that’s a worthy offense, it’s against the rules, and it was a foolish act that hurt his team.

But the Chick-fil-A Bowl suspension was a reality check for Bryant, who said that it put his mother in tears. “I can’t accept going through that again”, he said about how his actions affected his family.

His mother, Roberta, “demanded to know whether Martavis still wanted to be at Clemson, where he’d dreamed of playing since he was a freshman in high school”.

“You’ve got two kids you’ve got to take care of”, she said to him. “Right now, I’m the one that’s supporting you and your two kids, and somewhere down the line, you’ve got to take responsibility”.

He did, and although he admits that he’s struggled with fatherhood at such a young age, it’s become the driving force in his life. He told the paper that he wasn’t close to his father as a child, and he wanted to be there for his own.

Part of that is pursuing his NFL career so that he can provide for them, and those around him have seen a change in focus since that December 2012 suspension. Said his former coach, “since January—and I was the biggest skeptic of all—I’m a believer, because he’s been completely consistent in everything”.

Going to the team he was hoping to should only help keep him focused.

During his post-draft conference call, he relayed that he told his mother that he wanted to be a Steeler, saying that Pittsburgh is “just a great city”, and that he had “a great talk” with wide receivers coach Richard Mann. In the right environment, with the motivation of providing for others, I think I like Bryant’s chances of succeeding.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Paddy

    At the very least he is taking responsible actions. Not every young man does that

  • steeltown

    Kids will change a person, well, in most cases anyway but it sure seems like between his freshman and senior years and having children he grew up and realized HE is not the center of the universe, his children are. Im rooting for this kid.

  • treeher

    Wave the caution flags, though, when former coach says he was biggest skeptic.

  • shawn

    Great insight … thanks Matt !

  • dkoy85

    I think I remember Mann saying him and Bryant had a good connection and Bryant’s comments back that up. If Bryant already respects his coach and the city of Pittsburgh then I’ll be rooting for him as much as anybody coming out of the draft. The more you respect, the more you’re willing to take in from that individual.

  • 20Stoney

    I agree. Multiple kids that you can’t take care of and multiple suspensions aren’t a good sign. Hopefully he’s grown up.

  • James Kling

    Sure, people can change, turn things around.
    But every year we have dozens of guys who have great physical skills, big upside types, who “just” need to put it all together, get their heads right, dedicate themselves. And it seems like only a very few ever do, or they do for a while and then old problems resurface.
    Hope Bryant can be the exception, but I’m dubious. And at R4 there was still a fair cluster of CBs we could have selected from that were gone by R5. I was hoping we’d get one CB early and one late, still think we’re thin there.

  • Jacque Strappe

    I sure hope he gets it right, because he’s vital to the success of this team with what he’s able to bring to the table. I hope there is a veteran presence in the locker room that can mentor him. Wish Hines was still around. Not sure AB is the guy you want in that position. Perhaps Moore is that guy. Or maybe someone not in the WR group at all.

  • cencalsteeler

    With Bryant not having a father figure in his life, it sounds like Richard Mann might have established himself as the person to help fill that void for Martavis.

  • cp72

    You could argue there was no player with greater upside available in the 4th round. A fourth round corner was going to sit a year or two before he would start, if he ever did.

    This is a swing for the fence pick, and quite frankly we need a few homeruns not singles and doubles. I hope he makes it, not just for the fact he is a Steeler, but also for his two little girls.

  • Rosco

    Seems like he is in the same situation as AB!!

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Hopefully someone can point out to him that there are 2 extreme ways he can go moving forward. there is the example of Cromartie, ex-Jets, who has about 9 kids (So far) with 6 or 7 different women, and can’t even remember all the kids’ names. Then there are countless examples of success in life where people embrace getting a chance to be an amazing father first and foremost.

    If his bonus goes immediately to helping his mom, his children and their mothers, then he would have made the correct decision. If it goes directly to blowing it, partying, getting a few girls and potentially conceiving child number 3, then good luck to him, because it probably won’t work out.

    Let’s hope he chooses well.

  • srdan

    I’d say that more than 70% of the probowl rosters has multiple kids to different women. To me it’s not a way I would choose to live my life, but it doesnt make him a bad person or throw caution flags up. It’s not a postiive either. It just is.

    Suspensions are another point all together. As steeler fans we have grown accustomed to our players getting them.

  • PA2AK

    eh, could be right, but sounds more like he was talking him up on how much he’s changed.

  • PA2AK

    Yup…Mann has some serious experience dealing/relating/mentoring with the type of kid Bryant (reportedly) is. I really like this draft and this pick, but I still can’t get over the additions of Munchak and Mann. Those are HUUUUGEE additions. Afterall, who do players relate to and learn more from….HC or position coaches?

  • PA2AK

    If 50% of AB’s work ethic rubs off on him…he’ll be fine. As for character mentor…Coach Mann.

  • PA2AK

    Nailed it.

  • James Kling

    I get all that. And you go back through day 3 picks with huge upside and babies to play for and brand new attitudes, and they still rarely pan out. Great if we get the home run, but it’s not anything I’d count on. I’d rather have picked one of the CBs (Desir, Aikens, Cockrell) and then taken Street or Janis R5. JMO.

  • Ike Evans

    Live and learn….just catch that ball big man and keep getting them checks

  • Madi

    You mean this grown-up 😉

  • Arthur Branch

    I agree with you about wanting some younger CB’s. I just think that if Lake can get Gaye to play like he did last year, he can groom Richardson and at least one of the free agents to be decent CB’s.

  • Arthur Branch

    I trust Colbert with late round receivers. Look at Wallace and Brown. He misses on the early round receivers. Most of the corners left in the 4th round to me were nickel corners or projects. Bryant I think is Colbert’s next second day receiver second day success story.

  • Steve

    Ike calls Mr. Rooney – Dad, whats that telling you? This is a family business and the players will be treated with kid gloves.

  • James Kling

    Wallace was a R3 selection. So, if we’re using R3 and later as the criterion for Colbert’s success drafting WRs, here’s the complete list:
    2000: R4, Danny Farmer
    2001: R7, Christ Taylor
    2002: R6, Lee Mays
    2005: R5, Fred Gibson
    2006: R3, Willie Reid
    2007: R7, Dallas Baker
    2009: R3 Mike Wallace
    2010: R3, Emmanuel Sanders; R6, Antonio Brown
    2012: R7, Toney Clemons
    Pessimist’s take: 3 out of 10 is uninspiring.
    Optimist’s take: Colbert’s trending better since 2009.
    Most of the CBs in R4 were undoubtedly projects, as were players of any position at that point in the draft. All things being equal, I think CB was a much higher need than WR, and the value cluster of CB projects was more limited than WR (meaning the dropoff was greater at CB). Now, that’s a difficult thing to quantify; if Bryant succeeds, it’s just wrong; if some of those CB projects succeed, it’s correct.

    How much dropoff between Bryant and, say, Jeff Janis taken in R7?