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Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger makes no promises on passing to Martavis Bryant

Joe Rutter
| Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, 10:57 a.m.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass during the first quarter against the Bengals Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass during the first quarter against the Bengals Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, at Heinz Field.

Ben Roethlisberger wants to let disgruntled wide receiver Martavis Bryant to know he is a valuable member of the Steelers offense. He also wants Bryant to know there are no guarantees he will see more passes since he voiced his displeasure on social media.

Simply put, Roethlisberger isn't making promises he can't keep.

“I'm not going to be a doctor and promise I'm going to save your life,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday morning. “I'm going to tell him if you're on your details and we're working together and I trust that you're going to be where we're supposed to be and you're there, good things will happen.”

Good things rarely have happened for Bryant this season, his first back with the Steelers since serving a year-long suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Through seven games, Bryant has just 18 catches for 234 yards – a 13.0 average that is four yard less than what he averaged in his first two NFL seasons.

Roethlisberger said Tuesday that he plans to sit down and talk to Bryant about ways they can get him more involved in the offense. As of Wednesday morning, that meeting hadn't happened, Roethlisberger said.

“I'm the guy that throws the ball, so if you're unhappy about something, come talk to me,” he said. “Maybe there is something we can figure out together to make it better.”

Roethlisberger said Bryant's recent comments on Instagram – he said “I want mine” and downplayed rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster's ability – came as a surprise because he said the 25-year-old receiver has been a model teammate in the locker room and on the field.

“You never hear him complain,” Roethlisberger said. “I never hear him on the field – crying, complaining, wanting the ball, throwing his hands up, not running hard, doing things like that.

“You see him blocking hard after guys catch the ball during runs. I grab him on the sideline and talk about the (images of plays) like I do with other guys, and he's very engaging.”

Three years ago, the Steelers cut running back LeGarrette Blount when he walked off the field in anger before the conclusion of a game in Tennessee. Roethlisberger doesn't think Bryant's situation is comparable.

“Martavis is out there busting his butt,” he said. “You hear frustrations when he goes home and gets on social media. Here in the locker room, we don't see any of that. That's why potentially it is treated a little differently.”

Roethlisberger was asked if the Bryant controversy can be solved with one long touchdown pass to the 6-foot-4 deep threat. Bryant, after all, has just one touchdown reception this year after scoring 14 times in his first two seasons.

“Hopefully, it's lots of touchdown passes,” Roethlisberger said. “We need to get the ball to him, to everybody, we all need to score points. There are opportunities there. That's why I told him to come talk to me.

“We've had opportunities with deep balls that were just missed whether it was me overthrowing him or it's the Chicago game where he slows down a little bit or this last game where he doesn't see the ball coming out of my hand.

“There are plays to be had. We just have to make them.”

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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