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Antonio Bryant Calls His Situation “Unfair”

Buccaneers receiver Antonio Bryant is due to make $9.488 million in 2009 as the team’s franchise player, only two years after he was out of the NFL entirely. But while he says he’s happy, he’s not completely happy, because he’s now required to prove himself again under a one-year contract, but with no proven quarterback to throw him the ball. “I’m happy to be there because it’s a comfortable situation in returning somewhere where I was last year,” Bryant told Sporting News Radio’s The Monty Show on Monday. “I know the people, the coaches, the family and the organization, so it’s a comfortable situation as far as that. . . . "[But it’s] a one year contract, it’s a ‘prove yourself’ contract, again, and the circumstances for me have gotten a little tighter. Now I’ve got quarterbacks fighting for opportunities to showcase their talents so the ability that was there last year is gone. We lost a lot of leaders, so we’re going to have to find some leaders in the locker room. And we’ve got some guys that can step up but there’s a lot more tweaks and new things I’ve got to get comfortable with again. So it’s simple situation, but an unfair situation for myself.” Bryant also sounds a bit upset that the head coach, Jon Gruden, is gone. “With Coach Gruden everybody knew that was my life line, that was Antonio Bryant’s lifeline to being in the NFL again and I’m not ashamed of that. Especially for a guy that has the desire and passion for the game. And you know everybody can have their own individual differences about Coach Gruden but I can honestly say . . . that he took the fall for a lot of shortcomings that our team had last year.” Our guess? Bryant will pocket that $9.488 million this year, he likely won’t be franchised again because his numbers won’t be where they were in 2008, and then he likely will sign with whatever NFL team Gruden is coaching in 2010.