If there’s been one, overwhelming question that fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers have had in recent weeks, it hasn’t had anything to do with free agency or the NFL Draft. Fans want to know when Martavis Bryant is going to be reinstated or if he will be at all. Tuesday is March 28th and since he reapplied to the league back in late January, his decision day is upon us. At least we think it is…
The NFL’s Player Conduct Policy states that a player must formally apply in writing no sooner than 60 days before the one-year anniversary day of the letter he received from the NFL notifying him he was suspended (h/t espn.com). 60 days would indeed be tomorrow, the 28th of March but under the arbitrary system in place who the hell knows?
It’s possible that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could summon Bryant to the League offices in New York prior to making any formal announcement one way or another. The Aldon Smith case is a perfect example. The Oakland Raiders planned to have him reinstated around mid-December but the decision didn’t happen until the end of the month and he was still unable to play. In reality, Bryant is at Goodell’s mercy because the Commissioner can pretty much lay out whatever terms he deems necessary for reinstatement. There’s that ‘arbitrary’ feeling again for you.
In other words, Goodell could tell Bryant that he has to do a public service announcement about the dangers of drugs in order to get full reinstatement. This is partially why the players have often claimed Goodell has too much power. They are tired of his “Make it up as I go along” method and it is clearly having an effect on them and it will going into future bargaining sessions.
Bryant’s presence on the Steelers’ offense cannot be discussed enough. He’s a difference-maker who takes coverage away from Antonio Brown and opens up things for other receivers as well. When he, Brown and Le’Veon Bell are on the field together (and that hasn’t been often enough), the Steelers are almost unbeatable.
Therefore you’ll forgive the impatience of Steelers’ fans who are desperate to get number 10 back on the playing field. If there isn’t any kind of announcement made tomorrow then I can only assume that the “wheels are in motion” so to speak “behind the curtain.” One way or another we should find out Bryant’s fate sooner rather than later. Well, maybe.