As the Steel City spacecraft passed over the Oakland Coliseum— Martavis Bryant, “The Alien”, descended to the gridiron of second chance.
The 6-foot-4, 211-pound Clemson wide receiver caught his first opportunity in the NFL playing alongside Antonio Brown on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bryant managed to rack up 549 receiving yards, and eight touchdown receptions in ten games, while making three starts. As he ranked first among NFL wide receivers in yards per reception, Bryant also stole the record for the number of touchdown receptions caught in a player’s first four career games. Unfortunately, that ‘high’ didn’t last very long.
Aliens tend to get lost in space— and that’s exactly what happened to Bryant. In 2015, Bryant was suspended for the first four games due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy. During his suspension, he spent his time at a rehabilitation center in Houston and returned to his role later that season.
In March 2016 it was rock bottom for Bryant as the NFL announced it had suspended Bryant for the entire 2016 season— again for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
After being conditionally reinstated to the NFL for the 2017 season, “The Alien” claimed he had found his way back to Earth. He resumed his starting position, reuniting with his accomplice Antonio Brown and pledging to maximize his “hellacious” potential. But, it seemed as though he was never given a chance. Bryant vented frustration from his decreased offensive role on social media and skipped mandatory team meetings before requesting to be traded. His yearning was ignored by head coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers organization until fate revealed itself in the 2018 NFL draft.
Head coach Jon Gruden affirmed his belief in extraterrestrials as he traded the Raiders No. 79 overall pick (third round) to acquire a massive talent in Martavis Bryant.
“Let me tell you, he brings a different dynamic.” coach said while talking up the fourth-year receiver’s role in the offense. “ He’s 6”4 and he plays it. He’s 4.4 fast (40-yard dash time) and he plays it.”
Bryant has enormous upside and has finally scored the chance at the resurrection that he’s been starving for. In combination with Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, and Ryan Switzer— the Raider receiving core is diverse in ability and can win at every level.
Maybe Bryant is branded “The Alien” because of his out-of-this-world athletic ability. Maybe it signifies his unplanned journey through space. Whatever the reason may be, it doesn’t change the fact that he can be a vital key to recurring victory in Oakland.