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Rutter: Long way to go for Steelers’ Bryant



As we reported earlier Saturday on Martavis Bryant,  he has formally applied for reinstatement with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

But it’s just one step back on the journey for Bryant to rejoin the Steelers. He doesn’t get to sit back and wait for Goodell to make a decision.

As the NFL’s drug policy shows, much work needs to be done for Bryant to get back into the NFL — and for him to stay there once reinstated.

Bryant’s application, according to language in the drug policy, had to contain the following:

“His application should include all pertinent information about the Player’s: (a) Treatment; (b) Abstinence from Substances of Abuse throughout the entire period of his banishment; (c) Involvement with any Substances of Abuse related incidents; and (d) Arrests and/or convictions for any criminal activity, including Substances of Abuse-related offenses.”

Here is what happens next for Bryant, again, according to the drug policy:

1. Within 45 days of receipt of the application, the player will be interviewed by the medical director and the medical advisor, after which a recommendation will be made to the commissioner with regard to the player’s request for reinstatement.
2. The Player will execute appropriate medical release forms that will enable the commissioner’s staff and NFLPA Executive Director’s staff to review the player’s substance abuse history, including but not limited to attendance at counseling sessions (individual, group and family); attendance at 12-step and other self-help group meetings; periodic progress reports; and all diagnostic findings and treatment recommendations.
3. The player will submit to urine testing by an NFL representative at a frequency determined by the medical advisor.
4. The player will agree in a meeting with the commissioner or his representative(s) to comply with the conditions imposed by the commissioner for his reinstatement to the status of an active player.
5. All individuals involved in the process will take steps to enable the commissioner to render a decision within 60 days of the receipt of the application.

In other words, Bryant must do all of the above so Goodell can decide on the reinstatement application by March 29.

Once reinstated, Bryant will return to Stage 3 of the NFL’s drug program, which is the last stage before banishment. Bryant will remain in Stage 3 and be subject to unannounced drug testing (up to 10 times per month) for the rest of his NFL career. However, after two years, the NFL’s medical director and advisor could discharge Bryant from Stage 3.

That, of course, is an issue for 2019. This year, Bryant has started the process of rejoining the Steelers. If all goes well, he could be back for offseason workouts in April.

— Joe Rutter




Author: Joe Rutter

After 13 years covering the Pirates -- the first 13 of their losing streak from 1993-2012 -- I moved away from PNC Park and into an assistant editor's position. Now, in 2016, after 10 years away from a beat, I'm back and happily covering the Steelers.

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