PITTSBURGH — The NFL on Friday cleared Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant to participate in regular-season practices and games.
Bryant was under conditional reinstatement after missing the entire 2016 season for multiple drug violations. Bryant missed two weeks of training camp practices while awaiting preseason clearance, which came Aug. 9. Bryant maintained that he expected to get full reinstatement for the season by continuing to pass his drug tests.
Bryant — the explosive playmaker who has 15 touchdowns in 21 regular-season games — says he’s quit smoking marijuana, a habit that cost him 20 games since being drafted in the fourth round in 2014.
The ultimate X factor: Martavis Bryant on the brink
The Steelers wide receiver is one failed drug test from the end of his NFL career. He’s also one fully realized season from making the Pittsburgh offense totally unstoppable. Which is it going to be?
Bryant is beating the odds by returning to the field. From 2010 to 2015, one of 11 players who served at least a year-long substance abuse suspension — defensive tackle Johnny Jolly — returned to NFL play, according to ESPN Stats Information.
“Martavis is a good kid that made some mistakes in his life,” general manager Kevin Colbert told ESPN earlier this month. “I know he’s a good son, I know he’s a good father. He knows he has challenges that he has to continue to overcome and if he does, he can have a great career and that will be great for him and certainly help us.
“I want to see him save his career more than anything. He’s not a bad person, he’s just a person who’s had some issues where they were his fault and there’s no getting around that. He knows that, we know that. But I also know he’s trying, and really trying to make himself not only a better player but a better person in regards to those issues.”