Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin's absence from the team is a result of his being bullied by teammates, according to a report from Alex Marvez of Fox Sports.
Martin left the Dolphins headquarters on Monday and has not returned. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that the team is giving Martin wide latitude in deciding when he wants to return and has not set a return date. The report also said that the club is concerned about the relationship between Martin and some teammates.
Coach Joe Philbin read a prepared statement when asked about Martin during his Thursday night postgame news conference:
"What I'd like to say in regards to Jonathan, any player with an injury or illness, our concern is for the health of the individual," Philbin said. "In respect to Jonathan, he's been excused with a non-football illness. Our concern and support are with him. That's all I'm going to say."
Fox Sports reports provide more details to Martin's ordeal and the alleged tipping point:
. . . a source told FOX Sports was an abusive environment that developed during Martin's 1 1/2 seasons with the Dolphins led to him taking a personal leave of absence to spend time with his family.
Martin left Dolphins headquarters on Monday when finally reaching his limit with the persistent bullying and teasing from some teammates that has plagued him since joining Miami as a 2012 second-round draft choice. As first reported by FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer, the latest taunt – a group of players stood up and left when he tried joining them for lunch – led to Martin getting up himself and walking out the door.
This wasn't an abrupt action by Martin, who is Stanford-educated and the son of two lawyers who attended Harvard University. A source said Martin has tried dealing with a slew of indignities that crossed into personal and family insults, including being bestowed with the nickname of "Big Weirdo."
Pro Football Talk reportedly confirmed that Martin posted a Facebook message on Thursday suggesting reports of bullying are not entirely accurate.
“Happy Halloween!” Martin said. “Don’t believe everything you read.”
“Opinions are like ---holes, everyone has one.”
Some Dolphins players came out in support of Martin on Friday morning.
"Obviously, we care about J-Mart a lot; we just want him to be all right," said right tackle Tyson Clabo, who replaced Martin in the lineup Thursday. "I want him to come back to work. He's a talented, young football player. I can't say what he's feeling. But I know if and when he wants to come back, I will be there to shake his hand."
Several members of the Dolphins said that Martin would be welcomed back to the team.
Clabo was asked whether he would reach out to Martin in the next several days. "I haven't yet," Clabo said. "I'm just trying to let him figure out whatever he's trying to figure out. It's hard to say what's going on in somebody's mind."