Steelers Officially Add Bryant, Release Ventrone

The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially added wide receiver Martavis Bryant to their 53 man roster. In a corresponding move, the team has released safety Ross Ventrone.

Bryant reportedly tweaked his knee in his first practice last Monday and status for Sunday’s contest against the Arizona Cardinals is uncertain. He caught 26 passes for 549 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014 and will serve as the team’s third receiver when he is healthy.

Ventrone injured his hamstring in Monday’s win. At today’s press conference, Mike Tomlin told the media he was being evaluated. He had been serving as a gunner on punt coverage and a key cog on kick coverage.

With Will Allen sidelined with an ankle injury, the Steelers currently only have three healthy safeties on their 53 man roster. Jordan Dangerfield is on the practice squad.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Here comes Rodney!

  • Matt Manzo

    I thought it would be Todman.

  • Michael James

    Once again it was clear yesterday that safety should be our priority #1 next offseason. Mitchell plays good this year, but after him it’s an absurd drop-off.

  • Addison

    Some team wanted chickaloo for sure now

  • gdeuce

    What does Todman add that Ventrone doesn’t?

  • steeltown

    Kind of makes sense. Ventrone has been dealing off and on with injury this year and its clear they don’t think he can contribute on Defense.

  • Alex Kozora

    Health, currently.

  • alevin16

    Dri must have some amazing blackmail pictures of Tomlin and/or Colbert 😀 Actually I am still holding out hope for Dri

  • steeltown

    Kick return and RB depth and he’s healthy

  • Michael

    I’ll check back this afternoon to collect all the Dri Archer hate mails. BRB…

  • John Noh

    Killer ability to block opponents in the back during punt returns. The ST penalties last night were disgraceful in general.

  • Michael

    Dri might be useful on a sub .500 team with poor weapons. I’m no football junkie but that’s my 52″ gut feel —

  • Michael

    Mostly due to beer and curry…

  • LucasY59

    I thought it shouldve been Archer, but Ventrone makes some sense also, they have a lot of players on the Defensive side of the roster (with Allen possibly hurt it does leave them thin at Safety, but Ventrone is pretty much ST only so again makes some sense)

  • Michael

    bottom posts below indicate he’s hurt so that made the cut much easier.

  • alevin16


  • Julius at midfield

    Like Gates and Vick I hope MB wants to prove something cause this kid can be a force and that’s what we’ll need Sunday. As Ben said Vick likes to roll left, he almost threw 2 pick six from the pocket. Hope offense on Sunday is more natural for Vick and includes deep patterns to MB AB MW. Last night I saw AB and Bell wide open with Vick not in position to deliver. Get this thing coordinated and if the D can hit Palmer we can win.

  • Michael

    Seems like Dangerfield’s teetered on the ps and roster past 3 seasons based on name recognition.

  • Michael

    If the kid isn’t motivated by 7-8 figure pay scale with natural abilities then we’re rendered with speechless guffaws and unanswered WTF thought bubbles & internet MEME’s.

  • popsiclesticks

    Right now with Vick, that might describe the Steelers. I would think he makes a lot more sense now than with Ben in there and he’s still on the sidelines.

  • NW86

    Can they really release an injured player in the middle of the season like that? Was he “waived injured” and will revert to IR if nobody claims him?

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    He just doesn’t get any respect.

  • Steve Johnson

    I’m not; I’ve never believed I’m him, a wasted draft pick and roster spot. Seems Tomlin keeps the guys he likes oppose to keeping the best qualified people.

  • LucasY59

    Boykin, Blake, DHB or Todman can all replace Ventrone as a gunner, and if they need him later he should still be available to be re-signed (especially if he is dealing with a hammy)

    Keeping Chick is a good move for the future and once everyone is as healthy as they can be while playing a season of football in the NFL he is an easy pick for inactive on Game day (kinda like Jesse James)

    Archer is still around and has had 2 decent returns on the last 2 Kicks that were returnable (maybe they will let him take a snap(s) on O eventually to make him actually worth a roster spot) like I said thought he was the most likely candidate to let lose to make room, but seems to be pretty safe since he should’ve been close to the chopping block twice now and has remained with the team both times (Bell and Bryants suspension returns)

    Todman (staying on the roster) proves that they are not comfortable with Dri as RB depth, and he is a contributor on STs (unless he is blocking people in the back)

    Nix is also an extra player that is not that safe on the Roster, but had a good block on the last TD and a few more earlier in the game, and once again is a solid ST guy

    Hubbard is practice OL depth and will be gone when either of the two injured OL return (should be Adams back first but will see, when Pounce is back also, they will have to drop another, and I think its Legs: the reason he didnt make the initial 53 and was signed after they DTR’d Pounce was to keep his contract non-guaranteed and able to be cut when Pouncey is healthy, like Ventrone, he will be available off the street if needed)

    J.James (mentioned above) is another roster bubble guy but with few players at the position, one in a cast (and both over 30) they need to keep him for the future (like Chick) also another easy inactive guy on gamedays (again another similarity to Chickillo)

    One last guy that might not have surprised me, would be Garvin, he hasnt stood out all that much on STs, but is the least likely of the guys mentioned to be cut (Danny Smith fav player, Dri must be well liked by the ST coach as well)

  • LucasY59

    they would just put him on IR if they wanted to do that, would end his season if they did. I think his injury is minor enough it does not require a “waived injured” I think it will also keep him available (a phone call away if needed) to return to the team.

  • Michael Argiropoulos

    It’s a shame. I really like Ventrone. He’s a special teams ace. He was on point last night so if it’s a nagging injury I didn’t notice it. To flat out release him though…that sucks. Hoping they resign him when he’s healthy.

  • son_zhu

    Dri Archer must have blackmail material on the coaching staff… lol

  • I like Ventrone, but I’m fine with this. There are others who can replace him on STs. What we really need is safety depth, not a “safety” in name only.

    Otherwise, hopefully Dave doesn’t decide to pull a Ventrone on Alex. I don’t think he’s done anything to deserve being cut, but you never know. (So quick, Alex, pick a new guy to model yourself on.)

  • LucasY59

    I liked Wild and Darby better, but dont think any would be brought up to the 53 (not even sure where either of the two I mentioned ended up at, Wild back in Canada? Darby on someone elses PS?) Dangerfield will stay on the PS and be practice Safety depth but nothing else (dont think he was the best ST guy, could be decent but not better than anyone they already have)

  • Josh

    That’s true. Is Alex now the Roosevelt Nix of the podcast crew?

  • That’s an ignorant statement. Dri is coming a long in the kick return, 2 games in a row he had a nice one past the 20 yard line. He’s 5 games into his second year, you don’t give up on a guy with 4.2 speed that quick…

  • Got to add Will Johnson to the list, he looks to have lost his FB job to Nix.

  • colingrant

    It’s not out of the realm of possibility (although admittedly far-fetched) that Dri Archer and Landry Jones falls in Mike Tomlin’s or Kevin Colbert’s family tree and are distant relatives, hence offering some justification on both continuing to pick up NFL check’s each Monday.

    How else can one explain the odds of either avoiding the practice squad during there now multi-year tenure. Although, I must add that Jones’ 9-lives has proven to be strategic considering the Steelers QB situation. Archer……… he catches touch-backs pretty good. 1st team All-pro touch-backer……… Can anyone else add to his value on the roster outside of looking good in mini-camps? Anyone? I’m grasping for straws here.

  • Jonathan D Worth

    Deepest condolences, Alex. Is he PS eligible?

    Here’s hoping we get Weddle next year in FA.

  • LucasY59

    you could, except he is the 3rd TE with J.James always inactive

  • e. smith

    He’s combine quick, doesn’t seem like he has any moves or juking ability. i’d love to see hims break one loose.

  • SteelerFANN

    Is he good to go against the cards? cause vick will need a big weapon to throw to.

  • MailboxKid

    I believe Ventrone went down with a hammy last game. Not a surprise, I think it was a good move. Couldn’t move Nix down after his performance on special teams and in the running game. We’re gunna need more of it.

    Can’t throw in Patrick Peterson’s direction so it would be nice to have Brown and Bryant in there for a mismatch on the no.2

  • NCSteel

    and that is NOT an ignorant statement.

  • NCSteel

    Bring a very large bag

  • Charles Mullins

    Landry Jones was a pick away from being in the game last night. Still think he should be cut?

  • colingrant

    Re-read 2nd sentence in 2nd paragraph.

  • NCSteel

    The bottom line my brother is that Ventrone (especially being hurt), or Archer is expendable.
    Not to make light, they just are

  • LucasY59

    Yes, but it wont happen

  • John A Stewart

    Chick didn’t show me anything in the preseason.

  • Big Joe

    As did I. They must be relatively confident that Allen’s ankle isn’t going to be that bad after the MRI or that Ventrone’s hamstring injury will take more time than desired to keep him on roster just for ST play.

  • Big Joe

    There appear to be a couple of good SS in play next year in Su’a Cravens and Vonn Bell. A long way to go but Shamarko Thomas still doesn’t seem to be playing intelligent football and Golden remains a core ST player as he still doesn’t show the skills to play at a level that doesn’t make us seriously vulnerable to TEs, RBs and slot WRs in the secondary.

  • Big Joe

    Not that he was James Harrison or anything but he showed quite a bit in run defense and pass rush. He showed grit, decent power to hold the edge and a decent first step on pass downs. He obviously needs more technique training at OLB, but where he needs a lot more time to learn is when dropping into coverage. As expected, he wasn’t natural there. Otherwise, he showed well as a 6th round pick who played 3/4 DE in college.

  • Big Joe

    Agreed. Don’t think the move had anything to do with Will being outplayed at FB, but more about the coaches wanting him to focus on being that 3rd TE so he’s ready to offset an injury.

  • Big Joe

    If he doesn’t resign with SD, he’ll be a high commodity so his asking price will be too high for the Steelers. They’ll draft someone first and get a decent FA who can play behind Will Allen if injured.

  • PittsburghSports

    All the Safeties, beside Mitchell, suck anyway. Cortez Allen could probably play the position better. I’m kidding…

  • 6 ring circus

    Best ability is availability? Corny but true nonetheless .

  • NinjaMountie

    But maybe he could, lol. Wait……naaaaaahhhh.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Archer has the 3rd highest KR average in the NFL albeit he only has 3 but that’s not his fault. He has produced when given the chance.

  • Durango Snowman

    My condolences Alex

  • TB

    I don’t think that’s an ignorant statement at all. I certainly agree with it. You don’t use a 3rd round pick on a position that has diminished use because of a change in rules (ie, moving the kicks up so there are much fewer returns). Absolutely a wasted pick.

  • The GreekGeek

    I hope he wasn’t drafted purely as a KR because that would be just dumb in the 3rd.

    I think the hope was that he could be KR and PR, and be a change of pace RB, and a nice slot WR. If he provided these attributes, like Sproles, Woodhead, McCluster, and D’Anthony Thomas, then it probably would be worth a 3rd. He flamed out at PR in camp with muffs, he is buried on the depth chart behind a workhorse superstar and a solid backup (and maybe 4th behind Todman), and for WR he is also buried on the depth chart behind AB, Wheaton, DHB, Coates, and Bryant. Maybe if Wheaton didn’t pan out, DHB was a flop, and we didn’t draft Coates he would have a role as a slot WR or something but he doesn’t.

    The problem with Dri, is not necessarily if he can produce. He showed some ability as the check down option for Landry. The problem is who would you take off the field to give him snaps? I would not play him over AB, Bryant, Wheaton, Miller, Bell, or Williams for sure. DHB is more proven and provides a taller deep threat. Coates is not proven but is a big target. He can’t pass protect as well so he is a liability as a 3rd down back unless he is in route, and honestly I’d rather have Bell or Williams have that role instead.

    I can see some logic with it at the time, maybe as injury insulation and the hope he could be dynamic in all phases on ST, and a minimal contributor on offense, but a year later, it is definitely a waste with the way things panned out…

  • The GreekGeek

    We still have two cuts to make most likely, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we still cut Archer. I’d hate to see it because then it means the 3rd round pick is truly a waste, but I don’t see how he can survive.

    The only other really expendable guys left are probably Hubbard (after 1 or 2 OL come back from injury), and Todman (I think Dri and Todman are in or should be in competition for the RB3/KR job). I like Todman better than Dri because I think he can do more things, but they are not invested in Todman with a draft pick like they are with Dri which might sway the vote there.

    Garvin is a ST captain, Nix is performing well in the roles he plays, WJ is a versatile injury insurance option. James is a need for next year, and Chick probably too so I doubt any of those guys get cut…

  • I like it. Let’s go with that. All in favour, say “Aye”!

  • The GreekGeek

    I think the price for safeties will be really high because you also have Chancellor who may get a contract which will skew the numbers. I know he is under contract but don’t be surprised if they pay the man in the offseason. If I am Weddle’s agent, I say to look at that contract, especially because Chancellor doesn’t really have leverage other than the fact that he is currently the best in the game.

    So, the Steelers have never been the team to be top bidders on the top free agent at a position. Especially with Weddle being over 30. I really like him as a player though and would love to see him in black and gold, but even with my homer glasses on I can’t see that happening…

  • Steelers58

    With the injuries at safety, why not give Doran Grant a look.
    It looked like Golden was lost out there.

  • Michael James

    Yeah, I’ve also stated several times that there are many good SS in next years draft. My favourites would be Jayron kearse (projected as a late first/ early second rounder), Jeremy Cash (projected as a late first/ early second rounder) or Karl Joseph (now that he is out for the season, probably a third or fourth rounder). These three are mean, hard hitting players with ball skills. I like Vonn Bell an Cravens, too, and would be perfectly fine with either one of them. However, the best safety of them all is Jalen Ramsey, but he such a special talent, that he is a top 10 lock.

  • John Noh

    And cut whom? If they IR Cortez Allen, I can see it. I haven’t heard or read anything about Allen’s injury being that severe.

  • Big Joe

    Ramsey is good. I watch him regularly but he is a FS vice a SS. Lots of good SS/FS players this year so we’ll see how things shake out. I’m closely watching the D-lineman pool shaping up for next year just so I can watch some of them play during the college year. There appear to be a couple of run stopping specialists in the early round prospect pool who can also pressure quite nicely on passing downs. I’m not seeing the same though for mid rounds just yet but it’s obviously way too early to really care.

  • Michael James

    I think you’re spot on, that we need to look at another (relatively) high draftpick at DL, too. Heyward and Tuitt are great, but they can’t play every down. McLendon might be gone (sadly) and McCullers has shown great promise, but he has to show it over the course of a full season. That leaves us with unproven L.T. Walton as the only other D-Liner. If another great prospect like Tuitt drops to our spot in the second round, I would go for it. What players do you have in mind? I like Kenny Clark, Jarran Reed, Jonathan Allen, Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel very much (from the players who could be available in the second round).

  • Big Joe

    Again, way too early into things but I’ll be watching A’Shawn Robinson, Andrew Billings and Sheldon Rankins for the time being. Each of them shows qualities that I think the FO would covet given our new scheme objectives. The FO values veteran skill at the back-up positions but I think another 1st round talent gives us long-term depth, scheme flexibility and production potential for the entire line. That should ease the pain in the secondary buying us time to strengthen there. While I can say that the same coveted skill potential applies to the Safety and WR classes this year, the depth of the d-line class seems light again compared to the other 2 position groups. As for Zettel and Collins, both appear to have power issues at point of attack so it’ll be interesting to see how or if they improve over the course of the next few months. Otherwise, I’m taking them off the option list as that trait simply doesn’t fit our 3/4 scheme needs.