The last memory of Martavis Bryant in the NFL depends on perspective. For some, that last photo might be the 36-yard touchdown pass he caught for Pittsburgh Steelers During their loss in the divisional round 45-42 to Jacksonville Jaguars. Others might think when he commented on Instagram “Joe Joe [Smith-Schuster] “No better than me, you idiot.” Bryant has a chance to create some new memories with… Dallas Cowboys.
they He signed with Bryant on Tuesday To the training squad. He has been out of the league since December 2018 when he received a third suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Bryant was already suspended for the entire season in 2016. He has filed for reinstatement several times over the past five years, and Commissioner Roger Goodell finally reinstated him on Saturday.
The only football Bryant has played since his suspension was with the XFL’s Vegas Vipers earlier this year. In eight games he caught 14 passes for 154 yards. Apparently, that was enough for the Cowboys to kick the 31-year-old’s 6-foot-4 speedster’s tires. At his best, he was a great No. 2 receiver with Antonio Brown as the Steelers’ No. 1 receiver when Mike Tomlin stuck with it. Tobey Maguire in Spiderman 2 Trying to keep a dysfunctional locker room from falling off track.
There certainly isn’t a great deal of wear and tear on Bryant. He played three seasons for the Steelers, one half for the FC Oakland Raidersand was never suited up for the game during his stints in the CFL.
If Bryant is anywhere near as fast as he was with the Steelers, he could provide a boost to the Cowboys’ offense. Speed is always a valuable commodity in the NFL, especially with a player his size. It could open the way for the king of the YAC, CeeDee Lamb.
This is of course the best scenario. For a player his age whose only appearances in a pro football game since 2018 are eight XFL games in the spring of 2023, the Cowboys won’t vault to the top of the playoff picture. However, to make one appearance this season would be a massive achievement.
While Bryant’s play on the field will likely look different, what will hopefully change is his demeanor. What he used that got him suspended — certainly marijuana in 2016 — is irrelevant. He has proven to be unreliable and arrogant. Smith-Schuster’s post proved that in 2017 he was not ready to take full responsibility for his actions. He was upset by the lack of scoring, and was eventually demoted to the scout team that season before being returned to the lineup.
Leaving the NFL the way he did is far from the ideal end to his career. If he can play nice for the Cowboys and find his way back on the field this season, or next season with a different team, his career could still have a happy ending.
Many people in their 20s have made mistakes that have had a huge cost. Bryant paid a heavy price — the pinnacle of his NFL career. Currently, he is young even in his football years. He still has a chance to be remembered more for moments like that playoff game rather than his poor choices.