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Pittsburgh Steelers' Martavis Bryant bulked up during offseason

By
Alex Butler

May 23 (UPI) -- Wide receiver Martavis Bryant is finally ready to return to the football field for the first time since the 2015 season. He is back stronger than ever.

The 25-year-old was known as a field-stretcher during his first two pro seasons. He scored 14 touchdowns in 21 games. The 6-foot-4-inch, 211 pound Clemson product was suspended for the entire 2016 season after failing six drug tests. It was his second NFL suspension.

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He was reinstated in late April.

Bryant told reporters that he was at 225 pounds on Tuesday at the Steelers' first OTA session at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

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He is also expected to come in as a starter this season. Bryant took first-team reps with All-Pro Antonio Brown Tuesday.

"I changed my whole life around, compared to how it used to be," Bryant told reporters. "I developed better habits. I also [changed] who I hang around with. I am a family man. I just had a son [Cali King Alexander Bryant]. After I leave here, I am going straight home to him. [I am] really developing my life and getting back on track."

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The Steelers also drafted wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

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Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he's excited for the amped up arsenal.

"I'm excited," Roethlisberger told reporters. "We have a lot of guys. It's fun to be able to rotate through guys. I want to throw to each one to kind of see what they can do and start developing a chemistry."

"I also have to realize my arm probably won't last that long."

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He said he hopes Bryant "can stay on the field." Roethlisberger said in 2016 that he was "disappointed" when the Steelers lost Bryant to his last suspension.

"The biggest thing to prove is just that he can stay on the field; we know what he can bring," Roethlisberger told reporters Tuesday. "But who am I to judge him? We'll accept him here with open arms and hope that he wants to be here and he's happy to be here and gives everything that he has to this franchise and organization."

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The Steelers' deep threat ran a 4.42-second 40 at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. But he also came into the league with a poor reputation.

"Bryant has a crazy wide receiver skill set, but he's a one-year wonder. This guy has some scary talent, but also some immaturity issues," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said before the Steelers drafted Bryant.

He has missed 27 of a possible 48 games since being drafted as a result of drug suspensions and injuries.

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