Former Clemson Wide Receiver Martavis Bryant benched for Sunday’s Game with the Steelers


(FILE – In this Dec. 6, 2015, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant (10) runs for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in an NFL football game in Pittsburgh. Bryant is facing a one-year suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy for the second time. Bryant’s agent, Thomas Santanello, confirmed the potential discipline in email to The Associated Press) on Saturday night, March 12, 2016, and said Bryant has filed an appeal. (AP Photo/Don Wright, File)

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers have benched wide receiver Martavis Bryant for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions over his use of social media with a fan.

He previously played for the Clemson Tigers from 2011-2013. He participated in the 2011 ACC Champion ship win with the Tigers. He skipped his senior year to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Bryant in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He was the 19th wide receiver selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. Bryant  signed a four-year contract with the team.

Bryant said he was relegated to scout-team work during Wednesday’s practice. Scout-team players typically don’t play in that week’s game. He is no longer hiding from his frustration with the Steelers offense, telling reporters after that session that he’s frustrated but will continue to play hard.

Bryant refueled trade speculation late Sunday night with an Instagram comment in response to a fan saying rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster is better than him. Bryant said Smith-Schuster is “nowhere near better than me, fool. All they need to do is give me what I want and y’all can have JuJu and whoever else.”

Head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that he would “rain down” an appropriate punishment on Bryant for his comment, while making clear his receiver is not available via trade. The deadline is Oct. 31.

Bryant referred to his agent, Thomas Santanello, when pressed on details of his frustration.

“If I’m not traded, I’m going to work my butt off here, and whatever happens happens,” Bryant said. “You’re not going to hear me complaining no more. I’m just going to be quiet and let everything fall into place.”

After 15 touchdowns in his first two seasons, Bryant — suspended for all of 2016 for multiple drug violations — has one score on 35 targets, which is third on the team. Over the last three weeks, Bryant and Smith-Schuster have 12 targets a piece.


Bryant doesn’t have regret over the social media situation but wished he hadn’t been a distraction to his teammates.

Tomlin said Bryant has been a professional and hard worker at the team facility but acknowledged Bryant’s comments have become “somewhat of a distraction.”

“I’m a great teammate. I don’t have beef with nobody in here,” Bryant said. “[I] love everybody in here. I work hard with everybody. I feel bad about the distractions but at the same time what’s done is done. Can’t take it back. All I can do is move on from it.”