The biggest offseason addition in the AFC might be the one that didn’t come through free agency or the draft. Martavis Bryant‘s reinstatement from a yearlong suspension could be the one move that lifts the Pittsburgh Steelers into a position to knock off the New England Patriots.
“Good — learning some of the stuff we put in last year he didn’t know about, remembering things that we had in before,” Roethlisberger said of Bryant on Sunday at his youth football camp, via Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He looks like a stud, as usual, so we’re excited for him to be on the field this year and help us out.”
In his first two seasons, Bryant combined for 76 receptions for 1,314 yards and 14 touchdowns in 21 games before missing all last season due to suspension. The Steelers‘ offense has proven to be much more explosive with the 6-foot-4 speedster on the field, scoring 30 points or more in about half the games Bryant has played since 2014. The big step for Bryant will be proving he can stay on the field for 16 games.
“Well, I think it’s just proving to us he can be out there all season,” Big Ben said. “We need him all year, so I think that’ll be big for us.”
Bryant’s return, coupled with the selection of JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round of the draft immediately makes the Steelers‘ receiving corps exponentially more dangerous than 2016. If Roethlisberger, his wideouts, and star running back Le’Veon Bell can all stay healthy, this could be Pittsburgh’s most explosive offense of the Big Ben era.