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Ben on Martavis: 'He has to earn it'

Ray Fittipaldo 10 months ago

Rookie fourth-round pick Martavis Bryant has flashed his raw athletic skills in recent practices, but he did not receive any reps with the first-team offense in the first two preseason games. That won’t change, his teammates say, until he develops more consistency in practice.

“He’s got to kind of earn his way onto the first group,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s just the way it is. We have guys right now who are ahead of him on the depth chart that are playing at a high level. He’s going to have to really bust his butt to earn that spot with the first group. If he can prove that, he earns it and deserves to be there then we’ll give him all the reps he wants.”

Roethlisberger said Bryant would be well-served if he watched how Antonio Brown approaches practice.

“He has to get it in his mind that he can help us out and push it hard on every single play like the guys ahead of him are doing,” Roethlisberger said. “If you watch Antonio Brown, he scores on that [76-yard touchdown] play because that’s how he practices. Every day in practice, when he catches a slant, he’s going to score even if he’s touched down. That’s how he practices and plays. That’s why it transitions into big things. As a young guy, he needs to keep learning from the veteran guys. I think he’ll do that because he wants to be a great receiver.”

Roethlisberger isn’t the only veteran concerned with the rookie’s practice habits.

“He’s a little raw right now,” Brown said. “He has to settle down in games and fine-tune his game and take practice to the game.”

When the Steelers drafted the 6-foot-4, 211-pound Bryant they were hoping he would develop into an immediate threat in the red zone. He has two more weeks to impress if he wants to make that happen for the season opener against the Browns.