Martavis Bryant calls trade to Raiders 'a blessing and an honor'

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Saturday, April 28, 2018

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Calling it a "clean slate and a fresh start for me," Martavis Bryant said he was embracing the trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders.

"I've got a lot to prove," Bryant said Friday in a media conference at the Raiders' facility. "I don't want to be just a one-dimensional player. I have a lot to work on, all aspects of my game. I'm going to do that, just to prove to myself that I can be great.

"It's a blessing and an honor. It just shows that [the Raiders] kept faith in me and they got faith in me, and also that I believe in myself. Things aren't going to be easy, things are always not easy, but you've got to just keep fighting and keep working, and I'm going to be all right. I'm going to handle my business, come to work here and prepare and go out and handle my business as a man."

Bryant was acquired Thursday night for the third-round pick, No. 79 overall, Oakland had acquired from the Arizona Cardinals in trading back from No. 10 overall to No. 15 in the first round of the NFL draft.

In joining Oakland, Bryant, who missed the entire 2016 season because of a suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, gives Raiders quarterback Derek Carr a dangerous receiving corps alongside Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson. Bryant's arrival also makes slot receiver Seth Roberts a potential trade chip.

"We've been looking for a size receiver, a big receiver," said Raiders coach Jon Gruden. "He's big, he's 6-foot-4. We're looking for a fast receiver and he's fast. He runs sub 4.4. So he has size, he has speed.

"I've seen the Steelers practice, in my previous position [on ESPN's Monday Night Football]. The man knows how to practice. The guy knows how to prepare. He's been through a lot in his life and he's got something to prove, and I think we're catching him at the right time ... I got a lot of confidence in this young man. I think a change of scenery can unleash his greatness."

Gruden also said running back Marshawn Lynch should be happy with the acquisition because Bryant's ability to stretch the field will help the Raiders' rushing attack.

"You want to bring the safety down in the box and play an eight-man front, we have a quarterback that can recognize that and create some matchups on the outside that are one-on-one," Gruden said. "This man has made a living going down the field, getting the football. It's a great day for us. We have a lot to prove and we're anxious to prove it."

After sitting out in 2016, Bryant had 50 catches for 603 yards and three touchdowns last season. Bryant, 26, has one year left on his contract and said he learned from his suspension.

"Just a reality check and just seeing all the people who were there for me, who was really there and who wasn't," Bryant said. "I stayed close to my family, and I have a son that's about to be born, so I just stayed focused on my family and just working out and taking care of myself and being the best Martavis Bryant I can be. I wasn't able to play football, so I tried to stay away from it and just focus on my family and myself.

"It's not my first rodeo. I've had my difficulties in my past, but I've come a long way from that. It's all about keeping the right resources around me and continuing to stay on the right path. I'm going to make sure I get that done."

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