Oct. 16-- Despite many reports to the contrary, Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant said Monday afternoon that he did not request a trade from the Steelers and is "good to go." Bryant's comments came some 14 hours after news broke that he had requested a trade, the result of his unhappiness with his usage in the offense.
"No, I'm good, man," Bryant said when asked directly if he requested a trade. "Good to go. I'm going to play ball. Finish strong and move on forward."
The NFL Network first reported that Bryant had requested a trade Sunday night just hours after the Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City. Then came a tweet from a woman identified as Bryant's girlfriend appeared to confirm Bryant's unhappiness.
"Well. You guys should have seen it coming. Taking him off the field. Not giving him the ball or the chance to reach his full potential." tweeted Deja Hiott, who had previously been identified as Bryant's girlfriend in news reports.
The tweet was deleted a short time later.
Bryant's playing time has declined along with his production this season. Rookie second-round pick JuJu Smith-Schuster played 44 snaps in Sunday while Bryant played 33. For the season, Smith-Schuster has played 296 snaps while Bryant has played 285.
Bryant has 17 receptions for 231 yards and one touchdown while Smith-Schuster has 15 receptions for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
"It is what it is," said Bryant, when asked if he has had to adjust to his role this season. "I'm not complaining. I know my potential and what I can do. The little bit I get, whatever I get, I just have to make the best of it. Everything else isn't in my control."
Big things were expected this season from Bryant, who had productive seasons in 2014 and 2015 before missing all of last season on a year-long suspension for violating the league's drug policy.
Bryant had 26 receptions for 549 yards and eight touchdowns in 10 games as a rookie. The following season he had 50 catches for 765 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games.
This season Bryant is on pace for 45 catches and 616 yards and 2 touchdowns in a full 16-game season.
Asked if he was on the same page with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Bryant said: "For the most part, yeah. Everything is going pretty good. We're just trying to win. It's a long season. I'm just trying to get better."
Bryant's trade request was leaked one week after running back Le'Veon Bell complained about his number of touches after a 30-9 loss to the Jaguars. Bell on Sunday had 179 yards on 32 carries after running for just 47 yards on 15 carries last week.
It came two weeks after Antonio Brown's sideline temper tantrum in Baltimore, when he had four catches for 34 yards. In the past two games, Brown was targeted 29 times and caught 18 passes for 312 yards.
Could Bryant simply have been getting in the complaint line?
"I have no control over that," Bryant said. "That's what those guys did. All I'm worried about is myself and what I can do to help the team win. As far as those guys go, I can't worry about that."
Bryant and his teammates joked one more than one occasion about the Sunday night report. Center Maurkice Pouncey said the team laughed about it on the plane ride the entire way back to Pittsburgh. The running joke Monday afternoon among the players was they all wanted to get traded to NBA teams.
"I thought he was talking about getting traded to the Cavs or something like that," offensive lineman Ramon Foster said. "He was talking about basketball I think, especially with the contracts. You know NFL players get jealous."
Then turning serious for a moment, Foster said: "It's crazy. I'm saying this because we're not going to feed into that anymore. That's over, we crushed that. That's done. That's how I feel about this locker room, that's not going to happen."
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