Friday, May 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Report: Dolphin almost left before

DAVIE — Dolphins left tackle Jonathan Martin talked of quitting football earlier in his career before leaving the team last week to get counseling for emotional issues, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

He had long been mistreated by other Miami offensive linemen, the report said. Media reports have focused on the behavior of guard Richie Incognito, whom the team has suspended. Martin now wants to keep playing football, the Associated Press said.

Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday appointed attorney Ted Wells to investigate. Wells previously investigated the Syracuse basketball sexual harassment case and NBA players union leadership.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, commenting publicly on the case for the first time, applauded the appointment. "He has an impeccable reputation, and we look forward to fully cooperating with the review," Ross said in a statement.

The saga attracted a throng of reporters and cameramen to the Dolphins' complex Wednesday. When it entered the locker room after practice, a player pushed a button on a radio at Incognito's stall. Circus music played.

Though players were unanimous in rallying behind Incognito, they were less vehement in their support of Martin.

"I don't know why he's doing this," offensive tackle Tyson Clabo said.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said he was shocked when Martin departed. "You can't help a situation that you didn't know existed, that no one on this team knew existed," he said.

Incognito's harassment of Martin has included voicemail and text messages that were racist and threatening, reports have said. But several players said the two were close.

"If you had asked Jon Martin a week before who his best friend on the team was, he would have said Richie Incognito," Tannehill said. "The first guy to stand up for Jonathan when anything went down on the field, any kind of tussle, Richie was the first guy there. When they wanted to hang out outside of football, who was together? Richie and Jonathan."

Martin has not spoken publicly since he left the Dolphins and returned to his home in California. Incognito told a Fort Lauderdale TV station Wednesday, "I'm just trying to weather the storm right now."

Manuel back: Bills quarterback EJ Manuel returned to practice and is set to start Sunday. He has missed four games with a sprained right knee.

Phillips in charge: Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was named Texans interim coach while Gary Kubiak recovers from Sunday's ministroke.

Cowboys: Star defensive end DeMarcus Ware, who has missed three games with a quad injury, returned to practice and is expected to play Sunday.

Falcons: Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon practiced for the first time since tearing a ligament in his foot in Week 2. He is eligible to come off injured reserve Nov. 17 against the Bucs.

Saints: Linebacker Jonathan Vilma went on injured reserve three days after making his season debut. Vilma had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in August. The team did not say if he aggravated it.

Titans: Safety Michael Griffin practiced three days after a right quad injured ended his streak of games played at 103.

Choking incident? Browns receiver Greg Little accused the Ravens' James Ihedigbo of choking him during a pileup Sunday. Ihedigbo denied the allegation.

Obituary: Clarence "Ace" Parker, the oldest member of the Hall of Fame, died in Portsmouth, Va., at 101. Mr. Parker started as a shortstop for the Philadelphia A's, and he was the third player all time to homer in his first at-bat. In 1937 he changed to football. In 1940 for the Brooklyn Dodgers he was named league MVP.

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