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Tim Benz

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin: Martavis Bryant not available via trade

Joe Rutter
| Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, 12:05 p.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, center, talks with an official during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, center, talks with an official during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that wide receiver Martavis Bryant's comments on social media were "out of bounds" and not the "appropriate" way to express his unhappiness with his role in the offense.

Hours after catching just one pass for 3 yards in the Steelers' 29-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Bryant took a jab at teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster while responding to a comment on Instagram.

Bryant said Smith-Schuster was "nowhere near better than me, fool," in a post that was later deleted. Bryant did not show up for film review and positional meetings Monday, calling in sick.

"He was out of bounds with some of his actions in terms of the things he said on social media," Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. "It will be dealt with appropriately so. That ball is in my court and I haven't visited with him yet."

Tomlin indicated the meeting will take place Wednesday when players return to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for practice. Players are off Tuesdays during the season.

Without prompting, Tomlin ruled out a trade involving Bryant before the 4 p.m. deadline on Oct. 31.

"We've invested a lot in Martavis since we drafted him and he's not available via a trade," Tomlin said. "We've invested a lot and we've covered a lot of ground. It's obvious we still have more ground to cover with him because we're having a conversation about him that's not football related."

After missing the 2016 season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, Bryant has just 18 catches for 234 yards in seven games. The Steelers elected to keep Bryant during his suspension, although the wide receiver disputed that in another Instagram post Sunday night.

"I worked my (butt) off to get myself back with no help and little support, period," Bryant wrote.

Said Tomlin: "He's done a lot in the period of time he's been here in terms of improvement not only as a player but as a man. We've still got a ways to go."

Bryant's expression of displeasure via social media came one week after he denied an NFL Network report that he had requested a trade. On Tuesday, during an interview with ESPN, Bryant said he would welcome a trade."

"I mean, if things don't get better, then I got to go," he said.

Tomlin said Bryant's antics are "somewhat of a distraction, and I say somewhat because we're having to field questions about it, not because it's high on my damn agenda."

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