Steelers notebook: NFL has not cleared wide receiver Martavis Bryant for practice
Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant hasn't completed all of the steps necessary for full reinstatement by the NFL and won't be cleared to practice or play in games until his situation is resolved.
General manager Kevin Colbert made the announcement Thursday afternoon when the Steelers reported to training camp at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
The team's first practice is Friday.
Coach Mike Tomlin said the news was not unexpected and said the hang-up was “procedural.”
“We knew it was a possibility because there were some conditions based on his reinstatement, and they have been really consistent in that regard,” Tomlin said.
Bryant was reinstated conditionally April 25 and attended all of the organized team activities and minicamp practices. He is expected to compete for the starting wide receiver spot opposite All-Pro Antonio Brown.
At that time, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the wide receiver would be permitted to participate in all preseason activities once “arrangements have been confirmed regarding Bryant's clinical resources in Pittsburgh.”
Colbert said Thursday that Bryant “was made aware it was only the beginning of the process toward a return to being a full contributing member” of the Steelers.
McCarthy said in April that Bryant's case would be reviewed prior to the start of the NFL season.
Bryant was suspended in March 2016 for multiple violations of the NFL's substance abuse policy.
“What we're going to continue to do is cooperate fully as we have,” Tomlin said. “We'll wait for them to instruct us on what to do next.”
In his first two seasons with the Steelers, Bryant combined for 76 catches for 1,314 yards and 14 touchdowns.
No Patriots pedestal
A popular line of questioning to Steelers players from media at St. Vincent on Thursday surrounded the gap between them and New England, which defeated the Steelers by 19 points in the AFC championship game.
While most of the players demurred and gave variations of saying they treat every opponent the same, cornerback Ross Cockrell took a little more time to consider his answer.
“That's a good question,” Cockrell said, pausing. “I think the best thing we can do is not put them on a pedestal. Just go out there and play football the way we know how to do it.”
Cockrell showed up to training camp wearing a USC cap and a Davidson T-shirt. But it wasn't an affront to his alma mater, Duke. It was a tribute to his sisters.
Ciera Cockrell is a rising junior who plays outside hitter for the Davidson volleyball team; Anna Cockrell is a rising sophomore hurdler for the USC track team.
Ross Cockrell sported quite an afro, sticking out from the sides of his backward USC ballcap. Cockrell estimated he's been growing his hair out for 2½ years.
Celebrations for Brown
Receiver Antonio Brown said he has a child due to be born Aug. 7 and that he would skip practice for the birth if there was a conflict. While welcoming a baby into the world certainly would be cause for celebration, Brown will have plenty of other opportunities as the result of the NFL tweaking its end zone celebration rule this offseason.
“It's gonna be exciting,” Brown said. “The offensive line is going to get a lot of attention. Those guys get to celebrate and do some cool stuff.”
Among the rules that were relaxed were ones banning group celebrations.
Veteran safety Daimion Stafford was placed on the reserve/did not report list. Stafford was signed May 30 after spending four seasons with the Titans. Stafford started eight games over the past two seasons for Dick LeBeau's defense in Nashville and was expected to compete for a role in a secondary that lacks experience in some areas.
No explanation was given for Stafford's absence. Tomlin even said during the opening remarks of his press conference that “all are present and accounted for.” The team announced the move with Stafford moments after Tomlin's press conference ended.