Martavis Bryant ‘Not Going To Fight The Process’ Anymore

If Martavis Bryant thought that his long road ‘back’ would end with his reinstatement, then the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver was clearly mistaken. While many seemed to take as a given that the third-year player would simply step back into the lineup and pick up where he left off, the road ‘back’ has been much longer and more strenuous than could have been hoped for.

After scoring 15 touchdowns in his first 21 games, Bryant has just one touchdown in nine games this season, and that came all the way back in game two, the only game this year in which he has had at least 50 yards receiving. He caught three passes for 91 yards then, 51 of which came on one catch.

But the year has gone nothing like that since. With only six games remaining, he has just 23 receptions for 306 yards, and the deep threat is averaging only 13.3 yards per reception. While not all of that can be put on his shoulders, there is a reason that he is not seeing a starter’s level of work.

It’s not easy to be out of the game—and I mean entirely out of the game, with minimal contact from anybody in your football life—and even more difficult to be expected to slide back into where you were prior to your unceremonious exit.

That is why Bryant has seemingly realized in recent weeks. After blowing up and taking his frustrations out on social media, an act that saw him demoted to inactive status for a game, he has had a cooler head and said the right things.

With the trade deadline having come and gone and nothing left for him to do but just to keep working at the game, he has done so, albeit perhaps later in the game than he should have. “I think the main part with me was, I wanted to come back and have instant success, but it didn’t work out like that”, he admitted.

“Now”, he told Mike Prisuta, “it’s about being patient and just going out and having fun with it, and just let everything fall into place”. He said that he is not feeling pressure to perform. “All I want to do is win. As long as we’re winning, we’re having fun doing it, what pressure do I have?”, he asked.

He realizes now that “you can’t fight the process”, saying that “you just have to be willing to get better”. He has had talks with head coach Mike Tomlin about that, and said, “he knows I’m not going to fight the process”, and that “he knew it wasn’t going to be easy for me”.

Clearly, it had not been easy for him, even while he seemed to put on the public face of the good soldier around the team, until it just blew up. Now, is it out of his system, or is he just playing the good soldier again? Or a bit of both?

Either way, he has made contributions in the past two games since his return from discipline. He had a big third-down conversion on the game-winning drive last Sunday, and he had a fumble recovery at the end of the first half on Thursday after Antonio Brown had the ball stripped. He has five catches for 72 yards in those two games.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • francesco

    Basically MB is saying that he is not going to take fits if the offensive game plan does not involve him to any high degree. No need to panic. Time will solve all issues.

  • WARisHELL

    Please excuse me if I don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth.

  • dany

    With or without Ben, next year I can almost bet he will explode. Contract year, one full year under his belt after suspension; We’ll probably see more of the rookie/sophomore Bryant then

    for now whatever he gives the team should be viewed as a bonus, even if it’s only taking the top off the defense for AB

  • WreckIess

    He’s both playing good soldier and accepting his role. I think he absolutely still wants to get out of here and while I hoped he would stay for his entire contract, I don’t really blame him. He’s left a lot of plays on the field (some pretty huge ones actually), but also his role in the offense is preventing him from being the player he wants to be. It also doesn’t help his confidence that Juju is just an obviously better player right now.

    Play out the season then he’ll get his trade during the offseason and that’ll be the end of it. We’ll get some rookie or free agent (probably even both) and that’ll be the end of it.

  • NinjaMountie

    Well, well, well. Looks like he can learn to say the right things. Now if we can get him to learn how to catch a contested pass we’d be all good.

  • walter

    Yea he is burning up inside whenever JuJu makes a catch but i do think he realizes there is nothing he can do about it.

  • Smitty 6788

    The thing is he has to come down with the combative catch opportunities he gets such as Thursday against the Titans. But just as important Haley needs to use Bryant more efficiently by using him with stick routes, outs and slants more often.. Instead of 9 routes so much. Then you can hit them with a sluggo or a out and up when the db is set up. Bryant is not a JAG

  • pittfan

    Someone else in another thread said this and I agree. There is no better organization in the NFL for a guy in Bryant’s position to be playing for. Bryant has the physical tools to be a great player, we all know that. His growth needs to occur between his ears. To that end, Mike Tomlin is a great head coach to be playing for. I hope he continues to talk to Tomlin and really listen and take to heart what he’s being told. Same goes for this rehab counselors. I believe before this season is thru we’ll be seeing MB on the winners list more often than not.

  • PittShawnC

    “You’ve got to get tough and you’ve got to make tough plays and you’ve
    got to make tough catches and you have to find ways to do everything you
    can to help this team.”

    -Ben on MB, almost two years ago

    “I’m still balling,” Bryant said. “You have your ups and you have your
    downs. It’s about how you bounce back. I’m going to be ready to go.”

    -MB, almost two years ago

    So let’s see, two years later:
    Make touch catches? No
    Find ways to do everything you can to help this team? No
    Bounced back, ready to go? No

    Believe anything that comes out this guys mouth at your own risk

  • Steel Realist PAul

    While he had a third down reception, I look at it like this: Right now, if you had to make a play with the game on the line, would you throw it to Bryant?

    My answer today is no. Why, because I want someone who will fight hard for the ball, especially then. AB.. Juju.. even JJ, all fight for the ball and bring it in consistently. Those are my guys… today.

  • Doug Andrews

    I want him to catch some of those contested balls. We’ll get a better trade offer for him. Right now i’m guessing someone will offer a 6th for him but that’s based off potential only. Maybe a desperate team will offer up a 5th rd pick for him who knows so he needs to start making some plays

  • NinjaMountie

    Makes no sense to trade him. We have him cheap next year and if he walks after that there is a good chance we get a similar comp pick for him.

  • Doug Andrews

    I like the idea of keeping him also. He’s a cheap #2 WR but what if Cleveland puts a 3rd rd pick on the table?

  • NinjaMountie

    I’d give him up for a no. 1 too. Neither scenario will happen though

  • Dan

    Certainly hope so. I jump on the Tomlin-bashing train occasionally for time mgmt and other things, but he is strong in this area. MB’s comments in this article are indicative of some lessons learned and an inkling of maturity. Hope the path continues, and definately hope he’s in Black n Gold when he gets back in full playing stride.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Honestly, I think he put in some life-changing steps off the field, and was likely a bit spoiled by his instant success in this league. Let’s be honest, people were willing to call him “Baby Moss” FOR A REASON. They guy looked borderline unstoppable, with his combination of size, speed, and strength. So that connection he had with Ben on the field, and given his young age still, it was fairly natural to assume that it would be back to that level or even get better. Admittedly, for whatever the reasons, it has not.

    Looking past that, as I and others have stated, Bryant’s mere presence, still demands some respect from opposing defenses. So his role going forward is indeed, multi-pronged. Even if it is a role that he secretly isn’t loving. He is right though, winning means everything. And it solves/cures a fair amount if ills. Harsh reality, is that especially for a WR, GM’s look at the production numbers. So although his possible resume is taking a hit on that front, showing that he can be a valuable member to a Steeler Super Bowl run and victory, will also go and look pretty good on a resume, after this high-profile tiff.

    I firmly believe that he’s gonna have a game or two going out, where he accounts for a couple huge plays, that turn a game in our favor. Heck, recovering that fumble last week was sort of a mini one right there. Here’s to hoping he explodes all over New England in a few weeks!

  • Dan

    Depending on how he progresses in practice and his day-to-day attitude and performance, I’d rather take a chance on keeping him than on an unknown draft pick…time will tell.

  • Dan

    Sitting out here on the internet, reading media reports and quotes, it’s hard to tell really where he is at. The coaches see him every day, so hopefully they are seeing things to make it seem he’s worth a chance. Your’s is certainly a reasonable opinion though. I’d like to see how things go, but I get where you’re coming from.

  • nutty32

    Putting his early success into context for MB should be as easy as looking up what Sammy Coates is up to these days.

  • Heywood Jablome

    This is a guy with issues that he’s working through and needs more guidance than others. Hopefully he accepts the guidance the organization is providing.

  • Doug Andrews

    Agreed but if a team throws a high draft pick out there would you trade him?

  • pittfan

    To judge his progress you gotta understand truthfully from where he’s starting. This suspension has revealed a lot we (and the team for that matter) didn’t know about MB. The lack of maturity, the lack of discipline, work ethic, etc. Not to mention the addictive personality.

    He had previously been able to mask those deficiencies with his natural abilities. That is no longer good enough so now he has to begin to build a responsible character. So while so of those same deficiencies still remain, the fact that he’s admitting them is a positive sign.

    Even if we don’t see ‘the next Randy Moss” in full this season, if he can stay clean and keep his head in the game he can have a good future.

  • John Noh

    I kind of feel sad for Martavis because he seems disconnected to the other receivers and backs still. Just look at the celebrations – it’s always AB, JJSS, and Bell doing the skits together. Martavis is outside looking in, like he almost doesn’t belong. This offense will finally live up to its fearsome potential when Ben and Martavis just take what the defenses are giving them and not try to force the issue, trying to relive some glory days. We saw a glimpse of that in the Titans game with the deep square outs.

  • ATL96STEELER

    I’m in the keep him camp as well, it’s all but certain Bell is gone next yr so there will be more target opportunities for him in ’18. But you have to see what options open up….right now my value would be a 3rd rd.

    IMO MB would be best served to comeback next yr…assuming Ben is back.

  • EdJHJr

    Perplexing. Like the entire offense. Seems like MB has an excuse, he did not play for a year.

  • JNick

    He seems disconnected during games. Not that he isn’t giving effort and showing up, but the other guys seem very happy, celebratory and he just doesn’t really seem like he’s enjoying anything right now. Maybe he was like that before, but I just don’t remember his onfiend demeanor from 2 years ago.

  • Dan

    Every man has his price.

  • popsiclesticks

    I pretty much remember him always being like that. There’s a video where Todd Haley tells him “I’ve never seen anybody with what you’ve got” after the huge TD v. Arizona and he’s just kinda chillin’.

  • popsiclesticks

    He never said “hey guys, I’m gonna start making ‘tough’ catches, just watch me I mean it this time” and your 2nd point is so vague as to be nearly meaningless.

  • popsiclesticks

    JJ has certainly not been bringing it in consistently.

    If Bryant is open, yeah I’d throw it to him. 2 pt conversion against the Colts, huge play really, they threw it to Bryant. He caught it. Cool.

  • popsiclesticks

    He still has an impact even when he’s not doing much tangibly. AB was able to roast Philip Gaines in KC because Marcus Peters was usually occupied with MB.

  • srdan

    We need the deep ball, not necessarily to mb. If 88, 10 or hunter can do it keep them out there. That’s what will make the team reach their potential.

  • Cwallace

    Best option..period.

  • PittShawnC

    “I was disappointed in myself, and I was disappointed in the fact that I
    let my team down, I let my coaches down,” Bryant said. “I had a long
    time to think about it, about what I wanted to do and I changed
    everything around.”

    On his kids: “I can’t have them looking back when they get older and saying that I didn’t accomplish anything when I had my chance,”

    -Bryant, on his Bowl Game suspension in 2012, almost 5 years ago

    Clearly he learned from his mistake. Believe anything that comes out this guys mouth at your own risk

  • Cwallace

    Well said..and i also believe he’s got two or three big play games down the stretch.

  • popsiclesticks

    So right now you’re at one, and it deals with some form of drug addiction. You’re killin’ it

  • Taylor Williams

    He’s too flimsy to make contested catches.

  • PittShawnC

    “I know I’m on thin ice, that’s why I don’t get in any more trouble,” Bryant said. “I just do what I’m supposed to do.” ESPN
    – April 2013

    Suspended for 1st half of Wake Forest game
    – October 2013

    “I know I’m on my last chance.” SI
    – January 2017

    Suspended for Detroit game
    – October 2017

  • popsiclesticks

    His last chance for drugs. Jeez, man. We’ve covered this. Well….I thought we did. Can you Google some more quotes, but this time click the X on your browser window instead of posting them?

  • Delboka

    It loosks better in quotes on paper.
    Usually when he says the right thing, it’s in the least sincere way.

    Rolling his eyes and smirking.

  • PittShawnC

    2009 – Academically ineligible to attend NCAA school
    2010 – attended boarding school to become NCAA eligible
    2011,12
    – 19 receptions combined in 2011 and ’12, and coaches were on Bryant
    for his lack of consistency and focus on and off the field.
    2012 – suspended Chick-Fil-A Bowl, academics
    2013 – suspended first half of Wake Forest game
    2014 – inactive first six games (training camp, preseason performance? AC joint sprain injury last preseason game?)
    2015 – suspended four games
    2016 – suspended 19 games
    2017 – suspended one game

    Clearly the track record of a man who learns from his mistakes lol. Don’t worry, I’m sure this time is different. You can believe him now.

  • popsiclesticks

    1. I hope he does well on his tests and stays eligible at the NFL level

    2. What does 2014 have to do with anything?

    3. Drugs are an issue that have been covered

    4. When did he say he would stay off of Twitter?

    5. How is he playing now if he’s still using drugs all the time?

  • Balok’s Plight

    Im still pulling for him

  • Balok’s Plight

    I hear you… I think he’s pressing too much, not just playing

  • FanInExile

    I had this same observation in the games in which I’ve seen MB play. I’m wondering if MB is excluding himself, if his teammates choose not to include him in the reindeer games, or maybe a bit of both. There’s no better way for him to get into the celebrations than if he were to score a few TDs, but I’d think some outreach from the cool guys in the skit “rehearsals” would go a long way to developing a rapport. Of course, MB would have to swallow some pride to celebrate with the others when one of them is getting the spotlight, and I don’t know if he yet has the self-confidence or maturity to do that.

  • PittShawnC

    2014? He was inactive the first six games and I gave both potential reasons for that that were made public. Could’ve been a result of his effort (which would fit perfectly into his lack of taking his career serious) or injury. But without a definitive answer, I won’t make an assumption.
    Have no idea about Twitter.
    Well, just like 2014 and 2015 I’m assuming it’s because he hasn’t failed a test.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’m really not sure what you’re talking about. I’ve seen plenty of instances of him being sociable and plugged-in on the sidelines this year. Maybe you’ve just missed them. I even have an image in our database of him and JuJu talking while rehydrating.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Since you said it twice, I have to correct you. Bryant was not suspended for the Detroit game. He was simply a game-day inactive.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Not this year it hasn’t. He’s visibly looked different while speaking this year than in the past.

  • John, The first half of your post is exactly what I have been thinking. Wonder why that is. Are they making him earn it after popping off in the media or is there something more to it? If it’s more than “earning it” I don’t see how that is good for the team. I guess what really matters is how he and Ben work.

  • Rocksolid20

    Funny how they knew it at Clemson but Steelers didn’t have a clue ?!

  • PittShawnC

    “He did a nice job of dealing with the suspension and working hard to get better at his craft,” Tomlin said

    Coach T’s words Matthew, not mine.

  • JNick

    If you’re not sure what I’m talking about Matthew, watch the games. I’m just pointing out my observation. I didn’t say it was an absolute. He just seems disconnected from the team, especially on field. It may be his demeanor, I may have never noticed it before, or he may have changed. I’m not sure. Just an observation.

  • PittShawnC

    Can’t speak to this year’s sideline, but he’s been documented as a quiet loner in the past (2013):

    So when he returned to school in January, Bryant was a changed man. Before, he was a loner with few friends on the team. He had a tough time trusting people. Now, he talks to all his teammates, and knows more about them. Though he is extremely quiet, he is being more vocal around them. For Bryant, that is a huge step.

  • JNick

    That may just be him. I remember, I think it was the 2 point conversion where the guys came running over and he just handed the ball to the ref and walked away. He may be more of an introvert and I just didn’t notice, or didn’t remember from when he was last on the field. It just kinda stands out from the rest of the guys.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It’s not a suspension. It doesn’t matter what Tomlin said. A suspension comes with a loss of pay and banishment from the team for the duration of the suspension.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I know that. But it’s not germane to the current discussion, regarding whether or not there is a change in his behavior for the negative this season compared to years’ past. I see no evidence that he is more disconnected now than he was two or three years ago.

  • PittShawnC

    By that definition, you’re correct.

    We both know that he was made inactive for behavior. So again, he wasn’t eligible for a game because of his behavior/decisions

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yes, he was benched for disciplinary reasons, something Tomlin has done a number of times with different players. I just think the terminology here is important.

  • JC

    YOU’RE EXCUSED

  • pittfan

    Not sure what you’re referring to. Care to elaborate?

  • Brenton deed

    I think he is/was a bit immature but not a “bad” guy… I think he’ll succeed in the end and I hope it’s with the Steelers. I have to think the past year or so has matured him somewhat.

  • Delboka

    Are you kidding me? Its on the main steelers site.

    I’ve seen plenty this year ya jobroni.

  • mhurk

    I met Martavis is person I thought He was awesome, very polite , humble, and seemed like a great guy in general, I hope He stays around and has a great rest of career in Pittsburgh.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It’s actually JAbroni. MISTER Jabroni, thank you.

  • Rocksolid20

    That he had a lack of maturity , lack of discipline and an addictive
    personality .

  • Delboka

    IT’s actually F A G when referring to you

  • Delboka

    F a g

  • pittfan

    I’m not sure I’d say the Steelers had no clue as to those traits. A lot NFL players have them. This is not the cream of the academic crop. My GUESS is that they took a flyer on his raw talent. That and that MB is probably a good BSer.

    But as ShawnC has provided MB’s litany of sins above, the vast majority of the offenses were academic in nature, not behavioral. The addictive behavior didn’t really manifest until after he went pro. In hindsight he doesn’t fit the mold of a typical Steeler pick.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    maybe he’d be more engaged if the team treated him like they treated Juju and gave him the same role and responsibilities as they gave Juju. It’s simple give him the same or similar opportunities as they have given or are giving Juju The production goes up he’s happy and he’s more engaged.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Watch what you say. I can’t believe you actually need a warning, but don’t say that kind of garbage again.

  • JNick

    Another case of 2 dogs and 1 bone and Bryant lost out. Juju is getting more because he’s showing and doing more. The team has done plenty the past couple games, going to Bryant early to try and get him going. The reality is Juju has played better. Period.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    The reality actually is Juju is playing an entirely different position. Let Juju play Bryant’s position and let Bryant play JuJu’s position. Then Let them rely on Bryant heavily while he’s playing JuJu’s position and you’ll see a different reality. And more importantly let them put Juju split out wide in Bryant’s position then not only reduce his role but let him run one or two of the same routes constantly then see what happens to Juju. And let them not really know how to use Juju like they’re doing now with Bryant. then of course let Juju while playing Bryant’s position try to chase down those God awful throws from Roethlisberger

  • JNick

    Actually they play the same position, WR. The Steelers dont have true WR2 and WR3. They mix depending on the need. Instead of trying to complicate it and run all those scenarios through your head, look at this. Juju is being very productive with his opportunities. Bryant is not. I’m not going to give Bryant more touches to help him, or get him going, when that means taking away touches from either Juju, Brown or even Bell. If Bryant was converting those opportunities more consistenly then yes, but with another TD drop last game, I can’t make the case. All Bryant bromances aside Juju is just playing better right now.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    No they do not play the same position. And all routes are not the same routes. You have an x y & z traditionally. You have receivers who play in the slot off the flanker or outside the number, at minimum. They tend to put players in places that match their strengths. Bryant is probably the fastest receiver on that team not named Heyward-Bey. that’s why you see him running the go route more than anyone else and from a different position. Bryant even told you they’re not playing the same position. You might want to take his word for it if nothing else.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    The first read of the quarterback is the most important. A number 2 receiver could be anyone who isn’t the primary receiver that’s open. And It’s how all these receivers are prioritized in the progression that determines a number two. A number two could be anyone they designate so saying they don’t have a true number 2 can’t be correct. But in this offense the first read is Brown unless specifically said otherwise & the offense goes through Antonio Brown first. The second read or number 2 just happens to be whoever is running that particular designation. this so-called number two wide receiver is more a media concoction. Roethlisberger problem is he can’t seem to find anyone else besides Brown as often.