Rookie Cleveland Browns defensive end Armonty Bryant is no stranger to getting in trouble, but this week’s NFL rookie symposium has him turning the corner.
The 2013 seventh-round pick was arrested for drunk driving less than a week after being drafted by the Browns and, through plenty of help and support, has sworn off drugs and alcohol. Specifically, he has been hanging out with fellow rookie Barkevious Mingo.
“He’s just been keeping me focused and just really helping me out through my situation and everything,” Bryant said. “We go out, go watch a movie, go out to dinner, just get my mind of stuff like that.”
After hearing from the likes of former NBA player Chris Herren, who lost everything to a variety of drugs, and Maurice Clarett, who has had some well-documented problems of his own, the messages started to hit home and Bryant started to see how close he was to losing his dream.
“It’s a blessing that I’m even here playing this game and living out a dream of mine. So don’t take advantage of this, and I feel that’s exactly what I did.”
With the rookie symposium, the NFL hopes to accomplish exactly what it did with Bryant. For young 20-somethings just coming into a lot of money, the temptations are numerous and living the hard lifestyle doesn’t end well, as so many former players can attest.
Hopefully the message sticks with Bryant throughout his career.