Hump Day Provides Time For Pow Wow Over Martavis Bryant’s Role

So, let’s talk. Let’s talk about talking, because evidently that is what today is going to be all about, even if it is behind closed doors within the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Everybody is going to be talking to everybody today, at least according to yesterday’s talk.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a growing problem in their locker room with wide receiver Martavis Bryant’s dissatisfaction with his role, and the team is more interested in solving the problem internally than by simply shipping him out. Both Head Coach Mike Tomlin and owner Art Rooney II have stated that he will not be traded.

ESPN reporter Josina Anderson spoke to Bryant directly yesterday, and one comment in particular stood out to me. Basically, he said that his problems have pretty much been under the table over the duration of this whole period.

“Me and coach always communicate, but we don’t communicate about this because I’ve been holding it in and I ain’t been saying nothing to nobody”, Bryant said of speaking to Tomlin. “I just been keeping it to myself and just talking to my receivers coach every now and then about it”.

It isn’t much of a surprise of course that he might say to wide receivers coach Richard Mann that he wants to see the ball more. But of course every wide receiver wants the ball more. It’s not something that is out of the ordinary.

But can this really all be solved by talking it out? Tomlin during his press conference yesterday admitted that the ball was in his court to speak to Bryant. Ben Roethlisberger said on the radio, “come talk to me…let’s figure out a way”.

For his part, the wide receiver seemed to understand that it’s time for some serious conversations to get underway. “I feel like it is necessary for me to talk to everyone”, he told Anderson. “I mean, I’m going to sit down and whoever wants to talk to me, I will talk to them and tell them how I feel. Ain’t no hard feelings, it’s just business”.

He said that he hopes to talk to Tomlin specifically, but he has to “talk to all the coaches, not just one. I will talk to everybody to get their perspectives of what’s going on, and what I can do better and what I need to do to get better”.

I think the real question remaining is not so much whether or not the Steelers are able to give Bryant a bigger role in the offense that he can live with, but whether or not he is going to be a malcontent if he is stuck on the team in a reduced role.

He said simply, “so be it”, should that happen, “I’m not going to re-sign”. He added, “I have this year and next year. I’ll just play next year out. I’m not tripping”. What will those years be like if he is only getting a couple of catches per game?

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • WreckIess

    They reported that he showed up today which is a good first step I guess? Hopefully they can help him come to an understanding about his role on this team.

  • heath miller

    hope for the best … expect the worst and you will never be disappointed… i think short term it will be better after he talks to tomlin.. but when he gets back home and talks to the loud mouth baby momma and his agent i fear it will all start over again ….

  • Conserv_58

    If anyone took the time to listen to Tomlin’s press conference you would have seen and heard the obvious angst and frustration he has with Martavis’ social media comments. Mike is angry and rightly so. He’s angry because Martavis’ comments have forced him to address them in the media. Tell ya’s one thing, Martavis had better not walk into the meeting with Tomlin with any sort of attitude because Mike is in no mood to listen to any unwarranted BS.

  • EdJHJr

    Did he or not, reduce his role all by himself , starting last year

  • Conserv_58

    I disagree with your second sentence because they shouldn’t have to remind idiot boy, Martavis what his role is. What they should do is to remind that mental midget that he’s darn lucky to still be on the team, let alone, have an NFL career.

  • Bonnie Powell

    Yep- then expects to walk back in and be an immediate star. He is not playing as well or getting YAC like he did before the suspension. He starts doing that and _BAM- playing time will increase significantly.

  • The Tony

    Hopefully that happens

  • francesco

    MB should remind Tomlin that Ben will not always be on this team. So go find a capable QB that can throw deep accurately.

  • francesco

    Tomlin: MB what’s up
    MB: Nothing much
    Ben: They found JuJu’s bike!
    Tomlin: Thank goodness
    MB: I drive
    Tomlin: Ok nice chat

  • Intense Camel

    Yea because he was just some guy on the team his first 2 years. Smh

  • WreckIess

    It doesn’t matter how any of us feel about Martavis. What matters is that he has a disagreement with the team and someone has to address that because just saying “he should know his role” isn’t enough obviously because he doesn’t. Everyone needs to be men about the situation and hash these things out.

  • steeltown

    Yep. Play out the contract and goodbye after ’18 season.

  • steeltown

    Ding ding ding

  • gdeuce

    why wouldn’t he show up?

  • Michael Conrad

    Nice and has some merit to it.

  • JohnB

    But Matt if they don’t talk to each other about the talk how will we talk about the talk that they talked about? That’s the talk i’d like to talk more about.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Next year we will draft another wr and cut him.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Reign down my judgement or something like that was very telling.

  • Rick McClelland

    I know how he can significantly increase his playing time. Catch the balls that are thrown to you. If you can’t catch what I am throwing to you, am I going to keep on throwing to you? Hell no. I’m going to throw to someone that can catch it. Right now you are a two trick pony and neither trick is working well. Elevate your game and your targets will be elevated too.

  • Darth Blount 47

    It’s funny, on one hand we have the boisterous, fun-loving, ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Wide Receiver, who likes his “Business to be Boomin'” and has a direct line to “Calling God.”

    On the other, we have the quiet, introverted, moody, recovering “drug” addict, who would rather chill-out, smoke a peace pipe, and leave the spectacular to his catches in the end zone and not his public persona.

    It truly reminds me of the Alvin Harper / Michael Irvin combo, or the Randy Moss / Cris Carter one, or Jerry Rice / Terrell Owens, yet each of those had the traits a bit jumbled up over our own.

    Ramon Foster and Big Ben, both admitted that they were a bit surprised at the comments, because Bryant IS so quiet and aloof. And you know, I sort of feel for the guy in that regard. But there really is no excuse, when you have a Coach like Tomlin or Mann, or a QB like Ben with his supposed “Open-door policy,” to air your grievances publicly, and not handle them internally. I have to wonder as I intimated on another post, if the frustration level simply boiled over, because Bryant HAD been told different behind the scenes, or whether Bryant simply has had a couple of little birdies in his ear off-the-field, who have been goading him and giving him absolutely terrible advice about how to handle this situation.

    In the end, since we know he isn’t going anywhere, I do hope this sort of issue gets resolved quickly between both teammates and the coaches. Because if JuJu can’t play this week, Bryant should be in for a pretty significant workload, simply by situational proxy.

  • Ed

    Trade him to Cleveland…

  • pittfan

    I’m sure that would go over well with Tomlin. Not. The last thing the kid should be doing is reminding anybody about anything.

  • pittfan

    Passive aggressive personalities are always difficult to deal with. He’s smiling “saying the right things” but in his mind he’s burning up.

  • Mr jack

    Why and for what reason?

  • Mr jack

    The elephant that’s in the room is the fact that Bryant is telling the truth and the coaches/players know that Ben is the problem.Ben is not what he use to be,and if he was the offense would be unstoppable.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    No disrespect to the author, but who cares??

    Poor me. I’m not getting exactly what I want and I don’t like that.

    Go ahead and get a new job in your college major and see how many TDs you get there.

  • mrallnite111 .

    The same could be said about lil Ben Roethlisberger !

  • nutty32

    Boom: he needs to call God and not his hood rat girlfriend.

  • SilverSteel


  • Will

    Well based off the comment I would surmise that he believes that MB baby momma and agent are the ones influencing MBs grumblings.

  • Matthew Marczi

    In terms of snap counts, his role really hasn’t been reduced. Even back in ’15, he was only seeing 60-70% of the snaps on average. And he was still seeing 7 targets a week through the first five games.

  • Matthew Marczi

    You don’t have to care, of course. I do think a lot of people care about what Bryant does on the field though, especially after missing all of last year and seeing how that affected the passing game. Personally, I kind of like that Tomlin is deciding to sit him for a game, especially right before the bye week. And I also like that he said he’s done complaining and after this talk whatever happens happens and he’ll just do his job. We’ll see if he sticks to that.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    not going to happen. it wont be in afc.

  • Mark

    MB is an immature man-boy. He is cancer..

  • Rocksolid20

    Not with Coates there .

  • Rocksolid20

    No Ben is not what he use to be , but I wouldn’t trade him
    for 6 other QB’s in the league .

  • Steel Realist PAul

    For me, it’s that I don’t have patience for the same ill actions over and over.

    And in the end, the key issue is only one player’s selfishness.

    My reply was more to the player vs your writing of the piece.

    Hadn’t seen the news today you referenced, but history tells us this won’t be the end of hearing from a selfish player who isn’t getting his way.

  • Arnie White

    Ben was pretty accurate last week on that deep pass to Bryant – unfortunately Bryant forgot to look for the ball.