According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, suspended WR Martavis Bryant believes the NFL will reinstate for the 2017 season at some point in the near future.
“He believes he’s coming back. When you speak to people close to him they are confident that in the near future he will get word that he has been reinstated to the NFL,” Rapoport said, via NFL.com.
Rapoport added that the Steelers are also looking forward to having Bryant back with the team this season.
Bryant officially applied for reinstatement to the NFL back in late January, but the case is still in the hands of the NFL.
Bryant was suspended for the entire 2016 season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. This came after Bryant served a four-game ban in 2015 season for a separate substance-abuse violation.
Pittsburgh placed him on the reserve/suspended by Commissioner list after he accepted his one-year suspension from the NFL.
Bryant admitted in an interview earlier this year that he considered quitting football (via Sports Illustrated) but he has since changed his mind and has been working out with the intention of returning to the NFL.
The NFL has taken their time when it comes to reinstating players who are serving indefinite bans such as Raiders OLB Aldon Smith, so it will be interesting to see how the league handles this moving forward.
Bryant, 25, was selected by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft. He’s currently in the third year of his four-year, $2.7 million rookie contract and stands to make a base salary of $690,000 for the 2017 season.
In 2015, Bryant appeared in 11 games for the Steelers and totaled 50 receptions, 765 receiving yards and seven total touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 61 receiver out of 121 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Bryant’s return to the NFL as the news is available.