PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport was credited as the first one to break the news to the sporting world that Steelers’ wide receiver Martavis Bryant had requested a trade.
Bryant has since publicly denied this, both in-person to reporters and on his Twitter account, but other reporters and media outlets like Ed Bouchette and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have confirmed that either Bryant or his agent in fact did so.
Rapoport took some time to join “The Fan Morning Show” on Tuesday and explained where the trade request reports are coming from and the hard evidence behind them.
“My understanding is that there are text messages and emails expressing his unhappiness and requesting that he be somewhere else,” said Rapoport. “In writing, if a team grants permission, that is what officially gets filed with the NFLPA, with the NFL and that allows a player’s agents to go out and seek a trade. That has not happened here because as far as my understanding goes, the Steelers have not granted permission. So, there’s no official document, but there are emails and text messages to Steelers people stating his desire to be elsewhere.”
Rapoport confirmed that those texts and emails came from either Bryant or his agent and explains why there might be some discontent from the Steelers receiver.
“He missed a year. He is urgent. He wants to be back, he wants to get his numbers, he’s never been paid (in a big money contract),” said Rapoport. “There are a lot of things that he is like in a rush where I know the Steelers are sort of integrating him slowly in the offense. In his mind, he is ready, he wants to be productive, he should be productive, let’s go. And I think missing the year absolutely changes the mindset for him and that should be understood as well.”
He doesn’t think that the Steelers would move forward with a trade of Bryant right now unless, of course, the price is right.
“Everyone has a price. I don’t think he gets traded right now because there wouldn’t be great value, what would you trade him for?” said Rapoport. “He has behaved well. If he starts being really productive, if people say, ‘You know what? The drugs stuff is behind him, he’s great on the field,’ like if they can get value, I could see them trading him. Right now, there’s not a whole lot of leverage there and I’m not sure what he would command.”
He also thinks that after watching the controversial Mike Mitchell hit below the knees on Alex Smith, he thinks Mitchell was pushed into Smith and said, “I haven’t had anyone tell him that he is just a dirty player, but he’s close.”
You can listen to the entire interview with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on The Fan Morning Show above.