Martavis Bryant’s Reinstatement Could Be Long, Drawn Out Process

Martavis Bryant has taken the first official step to rejoin the NFL, applying for reinstatement yesterday. But doing so obviously does not ensure Roger Goodell will let him back in. And even if he does, it could take a long time It’s a process that has a lot of red tape and the slow-moving ways of the NFL only seems to compound these problems.

To be clear, it’s all Bryant’s fault. He’s the one who got himself into these situations with constant poor decisions inbetween apologies for those poor decisions. His mess and he’s had to pay the price. But Goodell’s reinstatement process, like many things in the NFL, seems arbitrary.

By rule, Goodell is supposed to approve or deny any reinstatement request, like Bryant’s, within 60 days. But that isn’t always the case. Aldon Smith applied on October 3rd of 2016, a supposed deadline of December 3rd to hear back. But Goodell didn’t issue a ruling until December 30th, basically an extra month after the “deadline” and ultimately deferred his ruling until March, keeping him out of the league until then – at the earliest.

Frustrating for fans, frustrating for teams trying to figure out what their roster will look like.

If Bryant’s ruling takes two months, the Steelers will have an answer well before April’s draft. If it’s three months, the Steelers may not know at all or only know days before the draft begins.

Smith’s trainer expressed frustration with how the NFL handled the case, per The Mercury News in mid-December.

“He is losing hope,” Fotion told Tafur. “They are jerking him around, telling him they’ll have an answer for him on Monday. And then nothing. It seems unprofessional.”

Josh Gordon’s situation is much more complicated but he also had to wait for extended periods of time to hear back from the league.

The good news it that is is the offseason, meaning Bryant has some extra time to wait. But for the Steelers, I’m sure they’d like to know as soon as possible so they can proceed. And for Bryant, the sooner he can be around teammates, the quicker he hopefully can get back on the right track and fall back into football, the track that is going to make him successful and hopefully, now, be able to eliminate the things that have derailed that process.

The bottom line is even though Bryant has begun the process, there is no telling when it will end.

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.

  • Steelers12

    this is why you don’t give Godell all the power, he acts as if he never made a mistake

  • george

    Exactly. I hope the NFLPA learned it’s lesson for the next CBA.

  • Matt Manzo

    No fair!

  • Ken Krampert

    Knowing all of this, then Bryant and whoever his people around him are should hunker down and be patient. In the mean time, stay in shape, be prepared for the upcoming interviews/drug tests/screening processes etc. If he wants to get the huge payday (which he has the ability to earn), then he will get his mind right and do what is necessary to get back to playing football. Time will tell….

  • H.K. northern cali

    Need this guy back in 17. Not the same offense without him. Also would like to see them draft another tall wr in draft.

  • RickM

    Respectfully, I don’t think it’s an apples to apples comparision. Smith was arrested something like 5 times in 3 years with San Fran. There were a lot more repetitive and somewhat dangerous issues in play with him. And Gordon was actually supposed to be re-instated on August 1, 2016 but had another positive test in March. Goodell actually cut him a break meeting him 6 days before his re-instatement date and giving him a conditional re-instatement. That allowed him to attend August training camp and then he was given a four-game suspension to start the ’16 season.

    I’d be surprised if the 60-day timeline isn’t followed for Bryant, provided he remains clean. Could be wrong; but I don’t think he has the extenuating circumstances the other two had from what we know at least.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Very true with all cases! I think this transition should go pretty smoothly! Everything we’ve heard from Bryant has been on the up and up! That Goodell is a wily one, tho.

  • Douglas Andrews

    If there is any silver lining about this whole situation it’s that we may have a ruling a month before the draft or maybe as late as a few days before the draft. At any rate it’s plenty of time for the Steelers to alter their draft plans if need be. If MB was watching any of the playoff games he knows how valuable he is to the Steelers so lets go MB put the smokes down. Plenty of time to do that later in life if you chose too.

  • firefromheaven

    This is really stupid. People with depression, like I believe Martavis claimed he’s dealing with, have major issues with stress. And one of the worst types of stress for this is the uncertainty of waiting for a determination like this to come down. Constantly being on edge about every phone call wondering if it’s the one that will make the determination about your next season or even the rest of your career causes your body to constantly produce adrenaline. This triggers the fight or flight response in our body which is essential when there are real spur of the moment life threatening events. The human body was never meant to be under this condition on a constant basis. The human body was never designed to deal with this type of stress. It will invariably plunge you back down into depression. Which may lead to falling off the wagon.

    It should not be an open ended situation. The commissioner should give a definitive date that he will make a ruling, not before or after, but if he says February 15, 2017 it should be exactly on that date. Anything else is going to directly affect a persons mental health, more than likely causing a relapse of the issues they are dealing with.

    I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be repercussions for not following the rules. I have no problem with him being suspended for 2016, but there should be a much more delineated process for reinstatement that doesn’t damage the players personal mental health.

  • Chad Sanborn

    The real question is how much does he want to come back?

  • William Weaver

    In my opinion, MB’s situation should have nothing to do with any draft plans or any offseason plans whatsoever. If he is on the 53 week one we can all celebrate but the team needs to plan for life without him and act accordingly. If we place any trust in MB being a part of the team and aren’t prepared if he isn’t then shame on us. He is bonus or nothing.

  • Ni mo

    Follow him on Instagram he’s staying in shape

  • Todd Johnson

    But when a player gets a fine though, holy crap THAT happens quickly

  • Jacob

    The biggest hoop he will have to jump through is to stay off the grass

  • RealSteel

    I know you are correct, it likely will be a drawn out process. But why?
    The suspension rules seem pretty clear in terms of what constitutes the suspension, and the length of time (1 year). If he hasn’t violated any of the rules/conditions of the suspension, why would it extend beyond the 1 year?

  • Ni mo

    Been off of it for 8 months

  • Jacob

    I hope he is telling the truth, and that he can stay off it.

  • Aj Gentile

    I’m most worried about Bryant coming back and being overwhelmed and smoking again. Hopefully since it’s the offseason there is some aborigines ease your way back jn

  • Applebite

    This is less about Bryant, and more to do with Goodell being an ass clown. I’m pretty sure the league has tested him over the last many months at some point, otherwise, they wouldn’t even bother to accept the reinstatement. If they can bring up bogus ‘random’ tests against Harrison, and force Bell to take a test in the wee hours of the morning, I’m pretty sure they kept tabs on Bryant’s activities while he’s out on suspension.

  • Paddy

    They simply can’t count on him, if he worked for you you would feel the same way and go in a different direction.