Jonathan Martin wants to return to the NFL but won't likely do it wearing a Miami Dolphins uniform during the 2013 season, reported ESPN's Lisa Salters. The 24-year-old offensive lineman has been away from the team since abruptly leaving on Oct. 28 to receive treatment for emotional issues allegedly brought on by mistreatment by his teammates.
Citing an unnamed source described as close to Martin, Salters reported on Monday that the second-year player "wants to play in the NFL again but feels he can't do it with the Miami Dolphins." This ESPN report comes days after Martin's attorney, David Cornwell, issued a statement indicating that "Jonathan looks forward to getting back to playing football." In that statement, Cornwell indicated that Martin was subjected to "harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing" and that he left the team "despite his love for football."
Amid media reports that he had left threatening voice and text messages in which he called Martin a "half n----- piece of (expletive)," Dolphins offensive guard Richie Incognito was suspended by the team on Nov. 2. While giving his first sit-down interview following his suspension, Incognito confirmed he had left the reported voicemail but contended that there was no bullying and that he was actually a close friend to Martin.
"This isn't an issue about bullying," Incognito told Jay Glazer of FOX Sports in the interview that aired on Sunday. "This is an issue of my and John's relationship. I've taken stuff too far. I did not intend to hurt him."
While the futures of Martin and Incognito remain unclear as the NFL investigates the situation, they may not be the only two who are not back with the Dolphins. According to NFL Media columnist Michael Silver, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland may lose their jobs in the aftermath of the bullying scandal.
"Unlike that scandal (the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal), where ownership stood resolutely behind Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis, Jeff Ireland, the general manager, and head coach, Joe Philbin, in league circles, are not expected to survive this," Silver said on NFL Network's "NFL GameDay Morning," via NFL.com. "Jeff Ireland already has the reputation in league circles for being a guy who 'we can't believe he still has his job.' They're 4-4, but there's clearly a void here. Expect somebody to pay."