Martavis Bryant opts for training over rest during Steelers' bye week

PITTSBURGH -- Tall and lean like an exclamation point, Martavis Bryant hardly has the figure of the typical mixed martial arts fighter.

That did not stop the Pittsburgh Steelers' rookie wide receiver from pulling on the cut-out gloves worn in fights and dabbling in the sport during the bye week.

Bryant worked out with Jay Glazer, who trains NFL players and is also an NFL insider for Fox Sports, opting for more work instead of rest while the Steelers were off.

"I'm going to be doing it the whole offseason," the 6-4, 211-pounder said of mixed martial arts. "I just wanted to go out there and get a feel for what I'm going to be doing. It was a great workout."

Bryant traveled to California to work with Glazer and the long-range benefit of such training is he will learn how to better use his hands to fend off defensive backs who try to disrupt his passing routes.

Bryant has an eye on getting better even though he is one of only two NFL players with at least six touchdown receptions since the seventh week of the season. It illustrates what veteran cornerback Ike Taylor said after the Steelers' final practice last week.

Taylor raved about Bryant's work ethic and attitude. He said the fourth-round pick, as well as rookie nose tackle Daniel McCullers, will be keys for the Steelers as they try to finish strong and return to the playoffs.

Bryant has caught 16 passes for 321 yards and six touchdowns and the Clemson product has made such an impact that it is hard to believe he didn't dress for the Steelers' first six games. Improving his strength during the offseason while also becoming more physical through mixed martial arts training should only enhance Bryant's long-term prognosis.

"I've been thinking about (mixed martial arts) since the season started what I wanted to do in the offseason training-wise," Bryant said, "so I decided to do something different instead of (just) working on speed training."