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Insider Only Steelers – Tuesday: Bryant talks suspension, Brown grateful for contract

STEELERS – TUESDAY

PITTSBURGH — Martavis Bryant was humble and contrite Tuesday, but after reportedly failing four NFL drug tests for marijuana it remains to be seen if the Pittsburgh Steelers second-year wideout has a problem that he can’t beat like he did opposing secondaries for eight touchdowns during his rookie season.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said during his press conference earlier in the day that Bryant “has issues that he’s dealing with that are bigger than football,” and the club prepared for this by drafting speedy Sammie Coates in the third round this past spring.

Tomlin and Bryant, who faces a four-game suspension for the multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, will discuss the player’s situation Friday. Bryant can return after the Oct. 1 game against the Baltimore Ravens. He can attend team meetings, but won’t get paid for the missed games, can’t practice with the team or even watch practice.

“Honestly, I embarrassed myself,” Bryant said. “I embarrassed my family. I embarrassed the team and the program. I own up to my mistake, and I just want to move forward and learn from this and get better.”

The latter comment was a recurring theme for Bryant, obviously something he was prepped to say, but he still appeared to be sincere. Bryant added that while he has discussed the situation with his teammates, he wanted to keep those talks private.

Antonio Brown said he was disappointed with his teammate.

“He has a lot of talent, and we want him to be the guy he’s capable of becoming,” Brown said. “When you take steps back, it isn’t the right thing to do when you have an owner like Mr. Rooney.”

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said the Steelers likely will use veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey in Bryant’s role during the four-game suspension. Heyward-Bey had just one start and a career-low three catches last season with the Steelers, but he was a terror on special teams. Bryant tallied 26 receptions and eight touchdowns with a 21.1-yard average per catch.

“(The) 2014 (season) is in the past,” Bryant said. “Now, I’ve got new challenges ahead of me, and now I’ve got to focus on those challenges, learn from them and get better. Honestly, I didn’t really know it was coming. But it happened now, so all I can do is just learn from it and get better.”

Bryant added that he was unaware when he initially tested positive.

“I don’t have the slightest clue,” Bryant said. “So, now, what’s done is done. It’s a mistake that I made, and I just have to learn from it … and get better.”

The Steelers have supported Bryant as much as possible, but since he won’t spend any time with them — other than in team meetings — all the receivers workouts will be on his own.

“This is a new challenge that came my way, and I’ve just got to own up to my challenge, face it and overcome it,” Bryant said. “I (can) do the right things, learn from what I did and make sure that it never occurs again.”

Notes: The Steelers have been spending money in recent weeks like they have a ton of cap space, which certainly isn’t the case. But they still decided to move $2 million from 2016 to Antonio Brown’s contract this year to make it worth $8 million. They also restructured Heath Miller and Shaun Suisham to clear $6 million in cap space that was needed.

“They could’ve told me to stick to my original deal,” Brown said. “I am deeply grateful and have tremendous gratitude. They didn’t have to do it. It just shows what they think Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

Dale Grdnic

TIOPS Steelers Beat Writer

Dale Grdnic is a contributor to Inside Pittsburgh Sports, covering the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Football. Dale has covered the Pittsburgh Sports scene for over 15 years with various publications

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