The Pittsburgh Steelers are considered one of the most formidable teams in the NFL today. With Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell leading the football squad, players across the league become apprehensive when they face the team. However, one of the Pittsburgh Steelers' strongest players is in trouble. Martavis Bryant, who is considered as a major driving force behind the NFL squad, might be a no-show this coming season.
In a decision made earlier this week, the NFL disclosed that Bryant will be suspended for at least a year following the result of the investigation on his substance abuse issues. The news, which effectively crippled the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, shocked fans and supporters of the wide receiver. Moreover, the gravity of his issues "stunned" even the closest friends he has in and out of the field.
"We're all stunned, me included," said Brian Fettner via USA Today. Bryant's agent added, "We clearly miscalculated the issue. His isn't a party issue. It's a coping issue and a depression issue, and he's got to take care of it."
Fettner also noted that the substance abuse issues of the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver highlights his struggle with depression and pressure. He shared, "This is the biggest cry for help I've ever seen. And that hurts. It hurts us to see. He's 24 years old and he's got to get right, whatever it is."
Fettner added, "If you talk to anybody's family that has depression, they will be talking about these same things - the (despondence), the withdrawal, the head-in-the-sand despair - just trying to cope." While the Pittsburgh Steelers remain supportive of Bryant, Fettner clarified that his client will trek a "long road to earn people's trust back."
For their part, Bryant's teammates remain optimistic of his recovery. One of the most vocal members of the Pittsburgh Steelers roster is Bell. Although he acknowledged Bryant's indiscretions, he also shared his belief on his teammate's growth after this issue. Bell noted that the wide receiver will become a "better player" once the suspension is over.
"I'm pretty sure when he gets back, he's going to learn from all of this and he's going to be a better player from it and a better person," Bell said of his teammate, according to SB Nation.
Meanwhile, Bell also noted that fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers need not panic over Bryant's absence next season. In his appearance in the R&B Podcast with NFL Media's Mike Robinson and Nate Burleson, Bell shared that the NFL team has more than enough talent to overcome the void left by the wide receiver.
"I think the sky is the limit for our offense, regardless," said Bell. The Pittsburgh Steelers star added, "I look back when I watched last year, I didn't play and the offense it still didn't matter. The times when Ben (Roethlisberger) was out and (Michael) Vick came in, we still came in and moved the ball. When I came out, DeAngelo (Williams) came in."
The running back continued to say, "We have guys, we have depth and I think the fact that we have all of that depth and we have playmakers everywhere, I think our offense is still going to be just as dynamic. Obviously, Martavis would make it a lot easier but we still have that next man up (mentality) and that's the kind of things we've been doing."
Bell also shared advice to his troubled teammate. Pointing out that their mistakes as athletes are "glorified" due to their profession, the running back urged Bryant to "learn" from his errors. He also encouraged the wide receiver to use the situation as an inspiration for his return. Moreover, Bell made it clear that he will always be ready to lend a helping hand to Bryant.
He advised, "People are going to tell you that they hate you and all of these negative things, but you have to understand you're human. You're a human being. I'm pretty sure if he wanted to be perfect -- if he could be perfect he would, but he can't be perfect. He can't be perfect, I can't be perfect -- nobody can."