“I just want to be happy, whether it’s here or it’s somewhere else. I just want to help contribute,” Bryant said, per Anderson. “I just want to be the best player that I can be on and off the field…and I want to be given the chance to be that. If it ain’t here then, so be it, then it’ll be somewhere else. But, I would like for it to be here, but if not, then oh well. Just got to move on.”
“I’m just going to sit down and talk to everybody and see what we can get clear on. Like I said, I don’t want to go nowhere. I want to be here, but if they don’t want to use me and they don’t want to use what I am capable of doing on the field, then just send me on my way.”
“I feel like it’s going to come down to whether we make changes or not, whether they try to include me more or not. If they don’t try to include me more and continue to do the same thing, then I want out period. I love my team. I love my brothers. I love being here. I love the city, but I have a family and everything going on now is about taking care of my family.”
Recent reports have said that the Steelers have no plans to trade Bryant, despite his obvious discontent. However, Bryant tells Anderson that if there aren’t any changes or he isn’t traded, then he’s prepared to play out the remainder of his contract and depart after the 2018 season.
For what it’s worth, a personnel director tells Jeremy Fowler that talent is probably worth a late-round pick. However, Fowler isn’t sure that this would be enough to convince the Steelers to move on from him.
Fowles doesn’t anticipate the Steelers benching Bryant either, but they may elect to phase him out of their offense.
On Monday, Bryant did not show up for required team meetings on Monday and a teammate said the receiver “called in sick,” according to Ed Bouchette.
Bryant also took a shot at rookie WR JuJu Smith-Schuster while responding to a post on Instagram: “JuJu is no where near better than me, fool. All they need to do is give me what I want and y’all can have JuJu and whoever else.”
Bryant later deleted the post and it now shows: “JuJu is the future and got great talent and is going to be one of the best to play this game. I want him to get his. I just want mines, period, point-blank. Ain’t nobody did nothing to get me back. I worked my ass off to get myself back with no help and little support, period. In due time the process will show.”
This comes just a week after reports surfaced that Bryant had requested a trade out of Pittsburgh.
The Steelers spent the week refuting that Bryant wanted out and was unhappy with his role, but it appears as though he’s still harboring frustration with the current situation.
Bryant was suspended for the entire 2016 season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy and returned to the team coming out of the preseason this year.
Bryant admitted in an interview earlier this year that he considered quitting football (via Sports Illustrated) but he later changed his mind.
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 2017, Bryant appeared in five games for the Steelers and totaled 18 receptions, 234 receiving yards and one touchdown for the Steelers. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 84 receiver out of 115 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding a potential trade as the news is available.