Bucs RB Martin 'excited' to be cleared for return
The Bucs' 2014 season opener is still five months off, but the team got good news Monday as running back Doug Martin announced on Twitter that he's been fully cleared by doctors after missing much of last season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
"CLEARED!!!!" he wrote to more than 50,000 followers on Twitter. "Excited to be back y'all!!"
Martin had surgery Nov. 15, one week after he was placed on injured reserve to end his season after just six games. After a stellar rookie season in which he rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns, Martin was limited to 456 and one score in 2013. The team then lost rookie Mike James to injury and finished the year with Bobby Rainey -- signed off waivers from Cleveland -- as its primary ballcarrier, and all three backs rushed for at least 150 yards in a game and will return healthy for 2014.
The Times' Rick Stroud reported Friday that Martin was expecting Monday's good news, and coach Lovie Smith said last week that while he likes the depth he has at running back, expect to see plenty of Martin this fall.
"We're going to lean on one guy, but I like the rotation," Smith said. ''I think you have to have a bell cow. He's ours. At the running back position, there are enough reps to go along. We want three guys we feel comfortable with. Two will play, but it's not a rotation that where every series we're going to have a different guy in there.''