Miami Dolphins reportedly meet with Jonathan Martin's agents, say they want offensive lineman back â but his people say no for now.
In what would likely be a surprise to many, the Dolphins reportedly want Jonathan Martin back with the club. But the feeling is apparently not mutual.
Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports
The latest twist in the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito saga reportedly took place at the recently concluded NFL Combine in Indianapolis. And for those of you believing that there is no way Martin could ever return to the Miami Dolphins, the Dolphins apparently don't share your opinion.
But it looks like Martin does.
According to a Tuesday report by CBS Sports, members of the Dolphins' front office met with Martin's agents during the combine and, per league sources, the club expressed a desire to keep the offensive lineman who left the team in late October, igniting a scandal that ended the season of both Martin and Incognito, cost members of the Dolphins staff their jobs, and brought the issue of bullying to the national forefront.
However, according to the report, Martin's representatives, "conveyed to the team that Martin was not comfortable returning."
According to the report, the Dolphins' contingent consisted of vice president of football operations Dawn Aponte, new general manager Dennis Hickey and head coach Joe Philbin.
The Dolphins told CBS that the "team reiterated its stance that no final decision has been made on Martin's status either way for 2014 and that this meeting was a first step in that process." They added that Philbin spent the meeting "in 'listening mode.'"
But that is not what sources told the outlet.
Hickey did most of the talking from Miami's side, according to sources, with Philbin "staring daggers" across the room. At the end of the meeting, however, sources said Philbin expressed his belief that Martin's agents were responsible for Miami's locker room controversy reaching this point, that they were the real problem and alluding that Martin's concerns could have been kept more private and handled differently.
Rick Smith, an agent from the firm representing Martin, issued this statement to CBS:
"We have no idea where you got your information, but you weren't even close. We'd appreciate it if everyone backed off and allowed the process to happen organically."
The Wells Report — the 148-page collection of findings from a three-month investigation into Incognito's alleged bullying of Martin while they were Dolphins teammates — was very critical of the Dolphins, concluding that Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey "engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at not only Jonathan Martin, but also another young Dolphins offensive lineman and an assistant trainer."
The report added:
"In a number of ways, Martin fits the mold of a typical bullying victim: hesitant to challenge others, perhaps socially awkward (at least in his own eyes) and different from the others because of his upper-middle-class upbringing and intellectual interests. He responded to abuse by blaming and distrusting himself, falling into what appears to have been serious depression. He did not report the harassment because he feared that doing so would further ostracize him from the offensive line group."
Among the tactics used against the players, per the report:
"The Report finds that the assistant trainer repeatedly was the object of racial slurs and other racially derogatory language; that the other offensive lineman was subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching; and that Martin was taunted on a persistent basis with sexually explicit remarks about his sister and his mother and at times ridiculed with racial insults and other offensive comments."