Following the reports of multiple failed drug tests since he entered the NFL in 2014, many people have chimed in on the Martavis Bryant situation and how dumb, clueless, obtuse or just plain stupid he was -- or addicted -- to have gotten himself into the jam he currently finds himself, which is a four-game suspension to start the 2015 season (with the corresponding loss of salary -- about $105,000 in game checks), which follows in the wake of the six games he missed at the beginning of last season.
Chris Henry Redux?
People have said Bryant may end up being the next Josh Gordon, but Bryant reminds Joey Porter's Pit Bulls of another troubled former player, the late Chris Henry, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Chris Henry died at the age of 26. His death followed a brief but tumultuous NFL career during which he not only was arrested five times but made an infamous name for himself for all the wrong reasons.
On the field, the former Bengals wide receiver was built much like Bryant (6'4", 210) and could fly -- a deep threat exactly in the mold of Bryant.
Off the field, however, Henry had a knack for getting in trouble, including numerous arrests for marijuana use, a DUI and other mishaps, calamities, tomfoolery, hijinks, shenanigans, chicanery and sloppiness.
Not to say that Martavis Bryant is destined to for the same fate that befell Henry, but he's off to a fast start down a path that could abruptly end his NFL career. By now, of course, we all know that's not news.
In fact, it wasn't even news that Bryant was, uh, "troubled" even before the Steelers drafted him. The red flags were there for all to see, and why he lasted until the fourth round of the 2014 draft.
As reported on this blog on May 21, 2014, here is what his college coach, Clemson's Dabo Swinney, had to say about him in an interview recorded in April 2013, before Bryant's final season at Clemson:
"Accountability, responsibility, dependability, trust-ability - those are the 'abilities' that matter," said Swinney. "He's got plenty of ability, it's all them other ones that have kept him from being a complete player. He's had some great moments, but he's been inconsistent. When you're not fully committed, you're going to be inconsistent."
But then here's another "red-flag" quote (from earlier in the article) that makes us wonder which Martavis Bryant the Steelers are getting (again, keeping in mind this was published in April 2013, before his senior season):
"Martavis isn't a bad guy, not at all. He's just been an immature, uncommitted guy - off the field, academically, in the meeting rooms, on the practice field, in the way he's prepared, not being dependable."After the Steelers drafted Martavis Bryant, a skeptical Joey Porter's Pit Bulls asked if Bryant might end up being a latter-day Fred Gibson, another tall, skinny fourth-round receiver -- who never made it out of his first training camp. Gibson was cut before the first game of the regular season.
At least during his rookie season, Bryant showed flashes of big-time playmaking potential. At this point, however, everybody will be relieved if Bryant doesn't end up like Josh Gordon ... or, worse, like Chris Henry.
The Ripple Effect
It came to light this past week that the Steelers knew of Bryant's failed drug tests and potential consequences last Spring, before the 2015 NFL Draft, and that his tenuous status influenced their decision to draft wide receiver Sammie Coates in the third round. To most observers of the draft, the selection of Coates was a head-scratcher, as he is somewhat physically similar to Bryant, as well as raw and unpolished with a reputation for dropped passes.
“We have known about the possibility of it for some time,” head coach Mike Tomlin said this past week. “In a lot of ways, it directed our course of action throughout the offseason, specifically drafting Sammie Coates, because of the potential of this event. So we are going to deal with it the best we can.”At the time of this year's NFL Draft, we weren't crazy about the Coates pick because it seemed redundant and, more so, because the Steelers need so much help on defense. We were further dismayed when, just three picks after the Steelers selected Coates, the Baltimore Ravens selected a player Joey Porter's Pit Bulls really liked and thought would be a good fit on the Steelers' defense.
That player was Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis (6'5", 320 pounds), a rough and disruptive force on the defensive line -- and Lord knows the Steelers could use that.
But, no, because of Martavis Bryant's inability to stay clean, the Steelers felt they had to reach for another wide receiver, Coates. Now, as it turns out, the reports out of Baltimore (nauseatingly enough) are that Carl Davis could have been "the steal of the draft" and, according to Pro Football Focus, was rated as the Ravens' top-rated defensive player after the first three preseason games. Just great.
- Article headline: "Carl Davis emerging as Ravens' top rookie this year" -- ESPN
- Headline: "Should the Ravens start Carl Davis over Jernigan?" - Baltimore Beatdown
- Quote: "There's a value pick right here. Some thought Davis would sneak into the back end of the first round. He had an outstanding Senior Bowl week. He has dominating height-weight-speed physical traits." -- Mike Mayock
Thanks, Martavis. You've not only deprived the Steelers of your services, your irresponsible behavior prompted them to draft a player they wouldn't otherwise have needed, and very possibly at the expense of drafting an impact defensive lineman who went three picks later to our divisional arch rival, the despised Baltimore Ravens. But you don't get any of that, do you, Martavis, and chances are you don't care.
Your NFL career is in jeopardy, Martavis, as is your very future. Time to grow up and act like an adult. You might actually be able to salvage something of your life -- unlike Chris Henry. Let his tragedy be a cautionary tale to you.
One final Footnote, because that ugly signing still reeks:
Meanwhile, the Steelers' signing of Michael Vick still is such a turnoff that ... ugh, it's tough to even comprehend that they gave him a uniform and put him on the payroll. Puke.
It's tough to feel good about this franchise right now, especially with Vick in Black 'n Gold.
What? We're supposed to embrace and celebrate that guy? Vick? No thanks. Nothing but bad karma that guy. We'll pass.