“No, I’m good, man. I’m good to go,” Bryant told reporters. “I just want to play ball. Play this year out, finish strong, and just move on forward.”
Bryant made his comments following reports that he told the Steelers that he is unhappy and wanted to be traded following the team’s impressive 19-13 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger backed up Bryant’s claim that he wants to be a Steeler.
“Martavis, I talked to him, he doesn’t want to go anywhere,” Roethlisberger said. “Sometimes things come from agents because they want what they think is best for the player and don’t realize that it ends up hurting the player. I don’t know exactly what happened here, but I do know that Martavis, there hasn’t been any inklings of unhappiness. It’s unnecessary drama.”
Bryant, who was suspended for the entire 2016 NFL season as a result of a second violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, was expected to take a huge step in his development this season. But that has not happened so far despite the fact that he is the unquestioned No. 2 receiver on the team.
Bryant is extremely talented and is the team’s biggest deep threat due to his speed. The 2014 third-round draft pick has shown plenty of flashes of this potential in the past. He produced 21.1 yards per catch and eight touchdowns on 26 receptions in 10 games as a rookie. Then in 2015, he caught a career-high 50 passes for a 15.3 yard average along with six touchdowns.
The problem this year for Bryant has been multifold. The offense has yet to click on all cylinders and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is in the process of compiling his worst statistical season in years. Also, Le’Veon Bell has been heavily involved in the pass game while rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and tight end Jesse James have been very reliable.
Still, Bryant is expected to be a major part of the offense in the coming weeks. The 25-year-old is third on the team with 17 receptions on 34 targets—the second most on the team—for 231 yards. He is averaging 13.6 yards per catch and has four receptions for 20-plus yards to go along with one touchdown. Bryant had two catches for 27 yards against the Chiefs.
Antonio Brown surpasses Lynn Swann on the Steelers all-time touchdown reception list
Brown had a big game against Kansas City, hauling in eight passes for 155 yards. But his most important reception came late in the game as he made a one-handed catch after the ball ricocheted off cornerback’s Marcus Peters hands and then raced down the field for a 51-yard touchdown. With the touchdown, Brown moved past Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann on the Steelers all-time list with 52.
Brown, who has averaged seven receiving touchdowns per year for his career, now has two touchdowns this season. He has totaled at least 10 touchdowns in each of the last three years. Brown now trails only John Stallworth (63) and Hines Ward (85) on the team’s list.
Bell moves up the Steelers record book after big game against Chiefs
Le’Veon Bell had his best game of the season against Kansas City on Sunday. Bell rushed for 179 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries (5.6 ypc) and added three receptions for 12 yards. He had six carries that garnered at least 10 yards with a long of 27. The 191 total yards of offense gives Bell 13 games of accumulating 150 yards, thus breaking a tie with Franco Harris for most such games in franchise history. His 179 rushing yards tied for the 10th highest-mark in franchise record.
Bell now has 16 100-yard rushing games for his career and four 150-yard rushing games along with 30 rushing touchdowns. With his performance against the Chiefs, he moved into sole possession of fifth place for the most 100-yard rushing games and most rushing touchdowns in franchise history. He also set single-game records with 17 carries and 99 yards in the first half against the Chiefs.
Brown and Bell were not the only players who reached milestones in the game against Kansas City. Cornerback William Gay extended his consecutive games streak to 166, which is the most of any defensive players, and David DeCastro played in his 62nd straight contest, which is the second-longest streak among guards who are currently active.