Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant is desperate to find a new NFL home.
Following a week of trade rumors, which included sources close to the wide receiver confirming that he wants out of Pittsburgh, Bryant reportedly missed a mandatory team meeting, according to Ed Bouchette of The Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
According to Bouchette’s report, a teammate confirmed that Bryant “called in sick.” Bryant’s agent, Tom Santanello, told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that his client visited a doctor Monday morning, though that may be a questionable alibi given that he was healthy enough to play during the Steelers’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals just a day before.
Bryant hasn’t quite lived up to the same productivity as his breakout 2015 campaign, which has coincided with the emergence of rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster as the Steelers’ No. 2 receiver opposite Antonio Brown. That leaves Pittsburgh with the option to trade the disgruntled Bryant while he still has trade value.
However, the franchise may want to act quickly given his recent actions, which included attacking a Twitter user who suggested that Smith-Schuster was better than him by responding “JuJu (Smith-Schuster) is no where near better than me, fool.” Bryant took similar actions this offseason by claiming Sammie Coates — who was eventually released and signed with the Cleveland Browns — would be replaced by the former USC wide receiver during the 2017 NFL Draft. At this point, however, it looks like Smith-Schuster could take both of the receivers’ jobs.
A source told ESPN‘s Jeremy Fowler that Bryant, “point blank,” wants out of Pittsburgh. However, owner Art Rooney told Gerry Dulac of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the team didn’t plan to seek trade options for the receiver, who missed all of last season serving a suspension.
“We’re not looking to trade Martavis,” Rooney said. “He was out of football for a year. Maybe some of us had higher expectations how quickly he could get back up to full speed, but he’s making progress.”
Bryant currently has 18 receptions for 234 receiving yards with one touchdown on the season.