If Jonathan Martin is going to play in the NFL again, it probably won’t be until 2014 and almost certainly not with the Miami Dolphins, according to a source that spoke to ESPN’s Lisa Salters.
In the wake of the Richie Incognito allegations, it isn’t surprising that Martin won’t return to the team. He didn’t feel comfortable there, considered the last year and a half to be “unbearable” and couldn’t befriend his teammates, says the source. Additionally, the general consensus in the Dolphins locker room is that Martin betrayed the team by not handling his issues in-house. Dolphins players would likely rather see Incognito back than Martin at this point, though neither scenario will happen.
Unlike Incognito, who is over 30 and has a history of anger issues, Martin is a young guy who is more likely to find his way onto another team. The question is, which NFL team would not only accept him as a football player, but as a person?
The answer: probably the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts are lead by Andrew Luck, the three-year starter at Stanford who had Martin protecting his blind side the whole time. Other Stanford players on the team include TE Coby Fleener, SS Delano Howell and WR Griff Whalen. Plus, current Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was the OC of the Cardinal when Martin was there as well. It will be the most familiar and familial setting Martin could ask for in the NFL.
There are two other distinct possibilities: the 49ers and the Browns. The Niners have five Stanford alumni on the roster, and their offensive line has had trouble protecting Colin Kaepernick this year. The Browns also have several Stanford players and their own offensive line woes — remember, this is the line that made Trent Richardson
look so bad oh wait that’s not true at all. Ahem.
Does Martin need a team with Stanford players to survive the league? Not necessarily. But Martin’s old teammates (particularly those on the Colts) have a proven relationship with the young and — it must be said — sensitive lineman. Rather than joining a team just to fill a need and having to build up trust with a new locker room that may not necessarily embrace him, Martin’s best shot at success is finding a team that can cater to his needs right off the bat. Plus, the Colts are a pretty good team, and nothing helps brighten your mood like playing for a winner.
It doesn’t look like we’ll have an answer to this question for a while, however. Until then, we anxiously wait Martin’s public response to Richie Incognito’s latest PR salvo.
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