Jeremy Fowler, ESPN Staff Writer 78d

Martavis Bryant: Steelers to 'go out there and lock arms' for anthem

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant said, as far as he knows, the team plans to "go out there and lock arms" for the national anthem before Sunday's game at Baltimore.

"We're united as a group, so we're all going to stand together," Bryant told ESPN.

Two players said in the locker room Friday they weren't sure about an exact plan, while two others said locking arms is a possibility and they will know more over the weekend. Bryant said the team discussed standing for the anthem during a meeting early in the week.

Center Maurkice Pouncey said Wednesday, "Trust me, this team will be out there standing." Bryant said locking arms is a way to make sure no one is "singled out" while remaining standing.

Several players don't really want a plan, hoping to focus on football instead of meeting over an anthem strategy after the Week 3 setup didn't go as planned. The night before Sunday's 23-17 loss to the Chicago Bears, the team decided in a players-only meeting to stay in the locker room during the anthem. Instead, the team made its way to the tunnel, with left tackle Alejandro Villanueva standing by himself during the presentation. Villanueva said the move was unintentional, based on a miscommunication over him wanting to get a vantage point of the flag.

Tension was palpable in the locker room early in the week, but Friday felt more like a normal day. Players were laughing and playing waste-basket hoops in the room.

And Antonio Brown sounded like his usual self when talking about the Steelers' offense.

"I'm always open for business," Brown said when asked about Pittsburgh's need for more offensive balance, which might mean fewer targets for Brown.

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