NFL from the Sidelines

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O-R Sports reporter Dale Lolley gets you the insider scoop on the NFL.

After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop. Dale can also be heard on the Steelers radio network pre-game show prior to every game. Follow him on Twitter at dlolleyor.

A look inside the Bryant rumor

October 16, 2017
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, second right, celebrates his touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs with teammates JuJu Smith-Schuster (19), B.J. Finney (67) and Martavis Bryant (10) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Last week, news broke that San Francisco linebacker Navarro Bowman had asked the 49ers for a trade.

A day later, he had been released after San Francisco couldn’t find a suitable offer and decided to cut bait with a player that didn’t want to be part of yet another rebuilding process.

Don’t think for a second that didn’t precipitate the news that broke Sunday night that receiver Martavis Bryant’s agent didn’t have that in mind when he leaked out to some choice national media sites that his client had asked the Steelers for a trade.

And you had better believe that is exactly what happened.

Bryant hasn’t been happy with his role this season. He’s not getting a lot of looks from Ben Roethlisberger. And when he does, they have failed to hook up consistently.

But Bryant hasn’t pouted or sulked. He’s continued to work hard - though he did admit to going to the coaching staff recently to ask what he needed to do to get out of this funk.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Players do that all the time. It’s part of the process.

After Bryant played a season-low 33 snaps and got just three targets that were turned into two catches in Sunday’s win against Kansas City, the bet here is that his agent, Tom Santanello, sprung into action.

After seeing Bowman get set free by the 49ers, you can bet the lightbulb went off in Santanello’s head. He could float the rumor that Bryant had asked for a trade and perhaps either get the ball rolling on that or get the Steelers to release his client to become a free agent.

That could be especially lucrative considering some of the injuries at the receiver position and how many teams just don’t have anyone at the position.

That might work in San Francisco. It wasn’t going to work in Pittsburgh.

First, Bryant has very little trade value, at least right now.

He’s one strike away from being suspended, quite possibly, forever. What is a team going to give up for a player, even a talented one, who is facing that?

And Bryant also has struggled at times this season, as well.

Finally, the Steelers stuck with Bryant through four and year-long suspensions and didn’t release him. There is no way they were going to do so now.

Bryant, for his part, laughed off the rumor, saying he wanted to be with the Steelers.

So did his teammates.

As for this being a potential distraction, don’t believe that for a second.

Guys go to the coaches all time time about not being happy with their role or asking how to improve their game. And agents talk to teams about their clients all the time, as well.

Think James Harrison was happy with his role the previous couple of weeks?

But you fight through those things and move on. And the Steelers will move on from this.

Bryant’s role was what it was Sunday because the Steelers wanted to run the ball. And JuJu Smith-Schuster is a better blocker than Bryant.

Bryant admitted that two weeks ago and said it’s something he needs to continue to work on.

That bit of information more than likely came out of his meeting with his coaches.

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