Martavis Bryant has always had the talent to play football at a high level. However, the former fourth-round pick has dealt with his fair share of setbacks away from the gridiron.
Fortunately for Bryant, he's receiving a second chance to prove that he can still be a game-changer. Earlier this week, the Clemson product signed a deal with the Edmonton Elks of the CFL.
Bryant, 30, last played in the NFL in 2018. He signed with the Toronto Argonauts last year, but unfortunately that pairing never matured.
We caught up with Martavis Bryant to discuss his second chance in the CFL, what he's hoping to accomplish at Edmonton and much more.
The Spun: You recently signed with the Edmonton Elks. Why was this the right move for you?
Martavis Bryant: Just an opportunity to get back and play ball. I’m thankful for the opportunity. It’s going to be exciting and it’s going to feel good to get back on the field again.
The Spun: Do you feel like now is the time for you to show everyone that you can still play at a high level?
MB: I know I still got it. It’s not about proving to people what I can still do. I’m doing this for me and my family. I’m not worried about the outsiders looking in.
The Spun: Is the plan to stay in the CFL for a while? Or are you trying to make it back to the NFL?
MB: That’s too far ahead for me. I’m just taking this one day at a time. I just need to play my cards right and go from there. My first step is going to Edmonton and proving I still got it.
The Spun: Have you heard from the NFL recently?
MB: I haven’t heard from anybody at this time. I got to handle my business here first. When that time comes, that time comes. I can’t worry about it.
The Spun: What should CFL fans expect from you?
MB: The same thing you’ve seen in the NFL. I’m going to give it my all, make some big plays and be there for my teammates.
The Spun: Is a role carved out for you already in Edmonton?
MB: My expectation is to go in there and work hard regardless. I’m not sure of the role yet, but I need to earn what I want. So I got to go out there and work hard.
The Spun: Your former quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, retired. What was your time with 'Big Ben' like?
MB: Congrats to him on an amazing career. He was one of the best quarterbacks I ever played with. He was a good guy, very professional, loving father. His résumé speaks for itself. He had a long and successful career.
The Spun: What would be your advice to rookie WRs entering the NFL?
MB: Just go in and work hard. Make sure you’re accountable, study your film, and ask questions. Be around the players who know how to be a professional - on and off the field.
The Spun: How do you stay upbeat through all the highs and lows?
MB: I’m a competitor, man. I love to compete and that’s never going to go anywhere. There are certain things off the field that prevented me from doing what I wanted to do. Now, I got to go out there and do it again.
The Spun: When you look back at your NFL career, what do you think?
MB: I had some ups and downs. There were plenty of growing experiences. Every game was pretty fun.
The Spun: What should we expect to see from you in Year 1 with Edmonton?
MB: The story is just beginning. It’s going to be an awesome story.
Ocean View Sports owner Bryan Miller, who represents Bryant, is optimistic that we'll see the former Steelers wide receiver revitalize his career in the CFL.
"I’ve known Martavis for over 10 years. Not only is he a client, he’s family to us. We played together coming out of high school. He’s been out of football for several years now (by choice) working on himself. It’s been a humbling experience. Some may think he’s lost a step but that’s not the case. I think the rest has been good for his body. He’s excited to embrace this opportunity with Edmonton and go out there and do what he loves to do. We fully support and believe in him - on and off the field - and I think Edmonton fans are in for a show this upcoming season."
Bryant was suspended multiple times during his NFL career for violating the league's substance abuse policy. When he was on the field, however, he was a flat-out playmaker.
Over the course of Bryant's NFL career, he had 145 catches for 2,183 yards and 17 touchdowns. He's hoping to make a similar impact in the CFL starting this year.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.