Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin, who was one of the NFL’s top rookies in 2012, said Monday via Twitter that he has been cleared to return from the shoulder injury that sidelined him for much of last season.
Martin suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder Oct. 20 at Atlanta in the Bucs’ loss to the Falcons. He had rushed for 456 in six games before getting injured, including a 144-yard performance against the New Orleans Saints.
As a rookie drafted late in the first round out of Boise State, Martin gained 1,454 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. While the Bucs got decent production out of Mike James and Bobby Rainey in his absence, their six rushing touchdowns were the second-fewest of any team in the league. Only the Cleveland Browns, with four, had less.
New Bucs coach Lovie Smith has said he plans to use Martin, James and Rainey as part of a rotation next season. While the Bucs were heavily involved in free agency the past few weeks, running back was one of the few positions where they didn’t add or lose anybody of note.