Mike Tomlin not worried about WR Bryant being a distraction
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mike Tomlin isn’t worried about Martavis Bryant’s state of mind. Last the Pittsburgh Steelers coach checked, his mercurial wide receiver was too busy catching two passes and helping out in the run game during a potentially season-turning victory over Kansas City to get worked up over his role in the offense.
Asked Tuesday if he was concerned over reports that Bryant requested a trade earlier in the season , Tomlin shrugged his shoulders.
“I don’t know that this is a legitimate distraction,” Tomlin said. “You guys can run with it and such. Martavis has been very open about the fact that it is a non-issue for him. We believe him. So, we’re moving forward.”
Bryant shot down the reports on Monday, saying the only team he wants to be traded to is the Golden State Warriors. Either way, it largely doesn’t matter. Bryant isn’t going anywhere regardless and Tomlin is encouraged by what he’s seen on the field from Bryant even if his numbers are down a bit from his 2015. Bryant missed all of last season while serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
“I like where he is,” Tomlin said. “He’s acknowledging that. Getting back on the train is a process. I think that the process is going well because of that acknowledgement. I think I said that a week ago. It’s still all very true.”
Bryant caught two passes for 27 yards against the Chiefs and impressed Tomlin with his downfield blocking for a running game that piled up 194 yards on the ground.
“I think week-in and week-out he’s think just playing faster and gaining more detail in his execution,” Tomlin said. “I think it’s reasonable to expect that because he’s working hard.”
Bryant played 33 snaps against Kansas City compared to 44 for rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster, though that likely had more to do with Smith-Schuster’s blocking ability than anything else.
“Sometimes it’s just schematic matchups, sometimes it’s things we’re trying to do in game,” Tomlin said. “I wouldn’t read too much into it to be honest with you.”
NOTES: RT Marcus Gilbert re-injured his right hamstring early in Kansas City and his availability for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati (2-3) is uncertain. ... LBs Vince Williams (hip) and Tyler Matakevich (shoulder) will both be evaluated during the week. Tomlin said he’s optimistic about Williams playing, there’s a chance L.J. Fort could join the rotation at linebacker if either player is out. ... Tomlin is also hopeful G Ramon Foster (back) will return after sitting out against the Chiefs.