Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dolphin players split on potential Martin return

DAVIE — Dolphins players had mixed reactions to a potential return by offensive tackle Jonathan Martin on Thursday.

Martin said he has been harassed and bullied by fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito. That included a voice mail that included racial slurs and threats of violence, according to multiple media reports.

Martin, 24, is black, and Incognito, 30, is white.

"I'm not sure how everybody will feel about him," left tackle Bryant McKinnie said of a Martin return. "That was his situation, and he felt the need to do it, I guess, so be it. Some things you like to keep in house."

Martin, a 2012 second-round pick out of Stanford, has two years left on his contract. There's no timetable for a decision about Martin, who is with family in California to undergo counseling for emotional issues.

"At the end of the day, our organization drafted him," cornerback Dimitri Patterson said. "They saw him as a future cog in this organization. So he will be welcomed back. Things happen for whatever reason. But he's still a Miami Dolphin."

Most Dolphins players took Incognito's side Wednesday. That continued Thursday.

"That's because Richie is the one being bashed the hardest," said McKinnie, who is black. "Everybody knows Richie as a person, his personality and how he was in the locker room. For him to be portrayed (as a racist and a bully, it's) kind of difficult for the guys to see that in the locker room because they actually know him."

In other developments:

• Martin hired attorney David Cornwell. Among his clients are Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Brewers leftfielder Ryan Braun. "Jonathan Martin's toughness is not at issue," said a statement released by Cornwell. "The issue is Jonathan's treatment by his teammates. Jonathan endured harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing. … Beyond the well-publicized voice mail with its racial epithet, Jonathan endured a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate and daily vulgar comments. Eventually, Jonathan made a difficult choice. Despite his love for football, Jonathan left the Dolphins. Jonathan looks forward to getting back to playing football. … He will cooperate fully with the NFL investigation."

• After Martin left the team, Miami general manager Jeff Ireland suggested he should have punched Incognito, profootballtalk.com reported. The comment reportedly came when Kenny Zuckerman, one of Martin's agents, complained about the way Incognito was treating Martin. Soon after the report, former Dolphins quarterback Sage Rosenfels criticized Ireland via Twitter: "I only spent two weeks on the Dolphins when Ireland was the GM. In that short time he won the award for worst GM in my career. Jerk." Zuckerman also represents Rosenfels.

• Incognito, indefinitely suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, is expected to file a grievance soon against the Dolphins, Fox Sports reported. It would be in hopes of recouping some of his lost salary, which is about $235,300 per game.

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