Better communication, defined role could solve Martavis Bryant mess

Bryant doesn't plan to re-sign with Steelers if denied trade (1:11)

Josina Anderson relays disgruntled wide receiver Martavis Bryant's plan to eventually leave Pittsburgh if the team doesn't honor his request for a trade. (1:11)

PITTSBURGH -- The Martavis Bryant saga seems so clear and simple with comments coming out of Pittsburgh on Tuesday:

There's Ben Roethlisberger on his weekly radio show: "I said, 'Tay, the one thing you haven't done is talk to me. Come talk to me. How can I help you? Let's figure out a way of game plan that me as a quarterback, I can talk to you, I can help you, I can talk through maybe an issue you have. Let's figure this thing out together, because he really is a good teammate."

Then there's Bryant himself to ESPN's Josina Anderson: "I feel like it is necessary for me to talk to everyone. I mean, I'm going to sit down, and whoever wants to talk to me, I will talk to them and tell them how I feel. Ain't no hard feelings; it's just business. I'm just going to sit down and talk to everybody and see what we can get clear on."

That this talk didn't happen weeks ago is sort of baffling.

What is clear: Bryant's displeasure with his role has been made known to the Steelers for weeks. This is nothing new. Bryant's camp has made efforts to convey Bryant's beef and subsequent trade request.

But it's obvious a fracture in communication -- of which Bryant has played a part, to be sure -- has forced the Steelers to navigate the murky waters that should have been cleaned up by now.

One of Bryant's biggest issues over the past few weeks, without a doubt: The Steelers led him to believe he's getting the ball more, and then it doesn't happen. Bryant believes he has the ability to be a future No. 1 receiver and wants to show that. He wants eight to 10 targets per game, from what I'm told.

With a run-heavy offense and Antonio Brown on a historic pace once again, 10 targets per game might not be feasible. But the Steelers can get him more than five over two games, which is his reality in back-to-back wins against Kansas City and Cincinnati.

He's too talented not to figure something out.

Tell him his role and stick to it.

Mike Tomlin is right that a social media comment wasn't the best forum for Bryant to vent. Bryant's immaturity came out there. But if a trade request forced a productive talk with Tomlin and Roethlisberger, there's still good that can come from this.

Those who know the soft-spoken Bryant say he can hold things inside. So, instead of flipping a Gatorade bucket, Bryant had his agent request a trade and responded honestly to a fan's Instagram comment.

The problem there is the Steelers were never going to trade Bryant. And the acts are perceived as selfish in some factions of the locker room. But it's telling that Tomlin and Roethlisberger have been vocal about Bryant being a good teammate and a hard worker in the facility. Nobody considers him a lost cause. They know they need him.

And Roethlisberger might have offered the best solution on his show on 93.7 the Fan, in case Bryant really is gone after 2018.

"Then give us everything you have, then, for these next few years. Let's get the most out of this," Roethlisberger said. "Because we can use him. I'm excited for what can come. I know people are upset and we all should be a little upset, that you don't talk about a teammate and things like that, but he can help us. And I'm not giving up on him. And I hope he hasn't given up on himself. Let's find a way to use him."