In a series of tweets Tuesday night, the wide receiver explained why he never broke out of a limited role with the Ravens last season.
“I realized quick Baltimore wasn’t the place for me,” Bryant wrote. “No bad blood. That’s their way of doing things so you gotta respect it.”
Bryant, 32, returned after sitting out two seasons and totaled six catches for 47 yards and two touchdowns in six games with Baltimore.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection during his time with the Dallas Cowboys, Bryant lacked explosiveness with Baltimore and never got consistently open. He finished as the No. 4 wide receiver for the league’s worst passing attack, ranking below Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Willie Snead IV on the depth chart. Bryant managed a total of 129 snaps, or 21.5 per game.
Responding to a fan’s comment that he should’ve been given a better opportunity, Bryant wrote: “It’s hard. I’ve been off almost three years. I flashed my abilities to the point [Ravens coach John] Harbaugh asked was I ready to play because he thought I was ready …You have to learn the playbook … chemistry with the QB have to be on point.”
Asked whether his chemistry was off with quarterback Lamar Jackson, Bryant wrote: “Our chemistry was good on and off the field. But it was guys there before me who understood the offensive concepts better than me. You can’t jeopardize that.”
Bryant became the second Pro Bowl wide receiver to miss two full seasons and return to the NFL since the 1970 merger, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Josh Gordon was the first.
The Ravens first worked out Bryant in August, but he left without a contract because he was told to improve his conditioning. Baltimore brought him back and signed him to the practice squad on Oct. 28.
After being elevated off the practice squad twice, Bryant was signed to the 53-man roster on Nov. 28. He never eclipsed more than 28 yards receiving in a game and was held without a catch in the Ravens’ two playoff games.
“I wasn’t bothered about playing time,” Bryant wrote. “I enjoyed myself. I met some great teammates, guys I feel like I will be keeping in contact for a long time. I’m thankful for the opportunity Baltimore gave me.”
The Ravens weren’t expected to bring back Bryant. Upgrading the wide receiver group in free agency and the draft was considered one of Baltimore’s priorities.
Bryant, the No. 24 overall pick of the 2010 draft, played eight seasons for the Cowboys. In 113 games, he caught 531 passes for 7,459 yards and a Cowboys-record 73 touchdown catches before his release after the 2017 season.
When asked whether he plans to play in 2021, Bryant wrote: “I plan on playing 2 more years and that’s it for me.”