ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Former East Central University star Armonty Bryant was released by the Detroit Lines earlier this week after serving his third drug-related suspension in the past two years.
Bryant had been suspended three times since the start of the 2016 season — the final time for the first four games of this year for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He was also suspended the first four games of last season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.
Bryant was signed by Detroit last year when the Browns chose to cut him rather than activate him from suspension. He racked up three sacks in four games, before being suspended again.
Bryant was eligible to return for last Sunday’s loss against Carolina. But the Lions elected to cut him loose Monday rather than bring him back. Bryant re-signed with Detroit in March on a one-year, $855,000 contract, including $40,000 guaranteed, but hasn’t appeared in a game since.
All told, he finished with three sacks in five games with Detroit. His season was cut short last year after suffering a knee injury against New Orleans. That’s excellent production from a situational pass rusher, but not enough to entice the Detroit to keep him after Bryant’s latest offense.
“There’s always, I think, an opportunity to help make a difference in a guy’s life sometimes,” Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said of Bryant last week. “Certain guys, you just got to sense that they’ve made a couple mistakes, but haven’t we all? I’m always one that I believe in working with people and trying to get them to where we’d like them to be and move from there. But every case is different. Every guy is different. Every situation is different as well.”
Had the Lions kept Bryant, he would have joined a rotation featuring Cornelius Washington, George Johnson and Jeremiah Valoaga behind starters Ezekiel Ansah and Anthony Zettel.