Bryant has been suspended three times in the past four years for violations of the NFL's substance abuse policy. The most recent suspension, which the league characterized as a rescinding of his conditional reinstatement from his previous suspension, came on Dec. 14, with three games left in a season in which Bryant played a career-low eight games and caught 19 passes for 266 yards for the Raiders.
That suspension came at the end of a months-long appeal fight in which Bryant claimed, according to sources, that the NFL's drug program was denying him access to proper treatment for his mental health. Bryant, now 27, was diagnosed with ADHD while in elementary school and has been in and out of treatment for it since.
In its Dec. 14 letter informing Bryant that he was once again suspended, the NFL cited Bryant's "40 failures to cooperate" with the drug testing program between April 25, 2017, (the date of his reinstatement) and June 13, 2018. Bryant's attorney, Peter Ginsburg, argued last season that the drug policy had failed his client.
Among other things, Ginsburg claimed that the NFL provided "treatment plans that were never designed to address Mr. Bryant's real issues." Ginsburg has argued that the league sent Bryant to drug counselors when it should have been sending him to counselors who deal with ADHD and conditions that arise from it. The premise of Bryant's argument is that the league's drug policy is ill-equipped to deal with mental health issues.
Bryant said Monday that he has been seeking league approval to see a counselor near his home in Las Vegas with whom he has had success in the past. The league has instructed him to fly to Chicago to visit NFL medical director Richard Spatafora for a status update and to gain NFL approval for treatment from his Las Vegas-based counselor. To this point, Bryant said, the league has permitted him to seek treatment from only its network of counselors.
Bryant, an unrestricted free agent, said he hopes to be reinstated and have a chance to sign with a team by the time training camps begin in July.