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Steelers' Martavis Bryant's suspension appeal denied

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Martavis Bryant's second-year leap will be put on hold to start the NFL season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers receiver has been suspended four games for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse after his appeal was denied Monday, the team announced.

Sources informed of the situation told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that Bryant's suspension is for multiple failed marijuana tests.

The 6-foot-4 wideout with a 4.42 seconds 40-speed was a big-play machine in 10 games as a rookie. He led the NFL with a 21.1-yards-per-catch average. Bryant finished with 26 receptions for 549 yards and eight touchdowns in just 306 regular season snaps.

Bryant was slated to open the season in three-receiver sets behind All-Pro Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton -- who've flashed during the preseason. Bryant's big-play ability was one reason the Steelers have been mentioned as a candidate to lead the NFL in offensive production in 2015.

Ben Roethlisberger and Co. will have to wait to deploy their fully operational attack.

The Steelers will be without both Bryant and starting running back Le'Veon Bell for the opening two games. Bell's suspension for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse was reduced to two games in July.

The Steelers also will be without starting center Maurkice Pouncey, who is a candidate for the injured reserve/designated to return list after suffering an ankle injury.

With Big Ben, Brown, Wheaton and tight end Heath Miller, the Steelers should still employ potent offense, but it'll look much less dynamic to open the season.

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