Suspended for the next calendar year for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant issued a statement to National Football Post apologizing for his actions and expressing a desire to play in the NFL again and a plan to file for reinstatement in a year after serving his NFL punishment.
Bryant was suspended for the second time by the NFL for multiple new violations, including missing drug tests, and testing positive for marijuana, following a previous four-game suspension last season for a positive test for marijuana, according to sources.
“I sincerely apologize to the Rooney family, the great Pittsburgh Steelers organization, coach Mike Tomlin, general manager Kevin Colbert, my teammates and all of the outstanding Steelers fans and, of course, my mother and children for what happened,” Bryant said. “I regret that my actions led to this punishment from the NFL and that I won’t be able to play football this year. I’m committed to making this right and realizing my full potential, on and off the field. I will spend this year devoting myself to improvement mentally, physically and spiritually to become the best Martavis Bryant I can be.
“I look forward to resuming my NFL career next year, and I promise to come back strong. Playing in the NFL is a privilege that I respect and my future actions will reflect just how seriously I take this game and the honor that it is to be a part of this league. Please respect my privacy and my family’s privacy during this difficult time. I will have no further comment at this time.”
Bryant had originally planned to appeal the suspension, but decided to accept the suspension, which will span an entire calendar year under NFL rules governing suspended players.
Bryant is one of the top young receivers in the game. He caught 50 passes for 765 yards and six touchdowns last season in 11 games and five starts. As a rookie, the 6-4, 211-pound former Clemson standout caught 26 passes for 549 yards and eight touchdowns.
During a previous four-game suspension stemming from a positive drug test for marijuana, Bryant spent time in Houston working with noted counselor and former NBA coach and player John Lucas.
“We are very disappointed that Martavis Bryant has put himself in this current situation of being suspended by the League,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement last week when Bryant accepted his year-long suspension. “He is at a crossroads of his professional life, and he needs to understand significant changes need to occur in his personal life if he wants to regain his career as a Pittsburgh Steeler. We are hopeful that Martavis will take the necessary steps to develop the discipline in his personal life to become a successful player and a good teammate.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.