The Oakland Raiders made a big splash trade on draft day to acquire WR Martavis Bryant from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 3rd round pick, and they have big plans for him as a major piece of their offense. That is if he can stay on the field and avoid another suspension from the league, something that the Raiders reportedly are already in fear of happening according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
The report says the team is fearing discipline from the league for Bryant is coming imminently. Multiple team officials declined to comment on the situation but did acknowledged in the report that the team is waiting for final word on whatever the situation is.
It’s worth noting that Bryant missed the final mini camp practice, though we don’t know if that’s related.
If Bryant were to be suspended, it would be devastating news. The Raiders gave up a lot of compensation for a player they expect to provide a huge upgrade to their receiving corp. Especially if it was for another failed drug test, because then it could be a Josh Gordon type year or longer suspension.
Martavis Bryant was suspended several times while in Pittsburgh including a full yearlong suspension in 2016 for failing multiple drug tests. Those suspensions have him as a main stay in the NFL’s Substance Abuse program, including regular required drug testing.
The report states that the Raiders are “uneasy” about the possibility of a suspension and states that it is not known yet what the receiver could be disciplined for but it is believed to pertain to the substance abuse program. That does not mean it has to be a failed test, he could also be suspended for missing a scheduled test.
When the Raiders traded for Martavis Bryant he spoke of getting a clean slate and swore he would do what he needed to stay on the field. He was saying all the right things and sounded like a man that was ready to put his troubled past behind him.
“Just by handling my business as a man,” Bryant said back in April when he was introduced as a Raider. “It’s not my first rodeo. I’ve had my difficulties in my past, but I’ve come a long way from that. It’s all about keeping the right resources around me and continuing to stay on the right path. I’m going to make sure I get that done.”
If a suspension would come down it would be devastating for Bryant. As we saw with Aldon Smith, the NFL’s separation of troubled players from their support system of teammates and coaches is a travesty of a policy.
Hopefully this report turns out to be just a tense moment for the team. If nothing else it goes to show the precarious situation the Raiders put themselves in by trading a high draft pick for a player that is one mistake away from being suspended indefinitely.