Martavis Bryant is facing a one-year ban from the NFL for a repeated violation of the league's drug policy, but even more important is that he could be fighting for his life.
According to USA Today Sports, Bryant will check into rehab and undergo evaluation for depression issues, one of his agents, Brian Fettner, stated.
“We’re all stunned, me included,” Fettner said, shortly after broke news of the ban Saturday. “We clearly miscalculated the issue. His isn’t a party issue. It’s a coping issue and a depression issue, and he’s got to take care of it.”
Fettner had just landed in Florida and planned to discuss three clinic options with Bryant later Saturday, he said. The plan is for Bryant to enter rehab Sunday, Fettner said, though Bryant’s other agent, Tom Santanello, said nothing would happen before Monday as they continue to sort through their appeals options.
Fettner confirmed Bryant is appealing the ban, though getting it overturned is seen as a long shot. It stems from multiple missed drug tests, Fettner said, while also acknowledging Bryant has a problem with marijuana.
The multiple missed tests – which count the same as failed tests – explains why Bryant faces banishment for at least one year, rather than a 10-game suspension for his latest violation after serving a four-game suspension to start last season.
“This is the biggest cry for help I’ve ever seen. And that hurts. It hurts us to see,” Fettner said. “He’s 24 years old and he’s got to get right, whatever it is.
“If you talk to anybody’s family that has depression, they will be talking about these same things – the (despondence), the withdrawal, the head-in-the-sand despair – just trying to cope.”
Bryant is dealing with possibly missing multiple random tests, which is even more egregious than failing multiple tests as was reported.
Bryant has 76 catches for 1,314 yards and 14 touchdowns in 21 games during his Steelers career, but like Josh Gordon he will have an uphill battle to return to his team.