Martavis Bryant has reached the next stage in his bid to return to NFL game action.
The Steelers wide receiver has been informed by the NFL that he is now permitted to participate in all preseason activities, including practices and games, general manager Kevin Colbert said Wednesday in a statement released by the team.
“He will continue to be evaluated as to his readiness to participate in regular-season activities under the terms of his conditional reinstatement,” the statement continued.
Bryant was conditionally reinstated in April after missing the entire 2016 season due to a violation of the league’s policy on substances of abuse.
In order to gain full reinstatement for the regular season, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, Bryant must continue to attend mandatory counseling sessions.
As long as Bryant cooperates over the next month, the Steelers’ offense should rival the Patriots’ as the AFC’s most unstoppable unit.
“He looks like a stud, as usual,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said of Bryant in June, “so we’re excited for him to be on the field this year and help us out.”
Since Bryant entered the league in 2014, Pittsburgh has scored 30 or more points in roughly half of the games he has played. Without Bryant in the lineup, that percentage is closer to 30 percent.
For all of the league’s marquee additions in free agency and the draft, Bryant’s potential return from suspension might just have the biggest impact of any single skill-position talent.