Report: Jonathan Martin rejects return to Dolphins
A meeting between the Dolphins' front office and Jonathan Martin's agents resulted in the offensive tackle rejecting the team's interest in bringing him back and coach Joe Philbin blaming Martin's agents for the controversy surrounding his team's locker room culture, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Martin's agents later disputed La Canfora's report.
According to the report, the agents for Martin met with Dolphins CEO Dawn Aponte, new GM Dennis Hickey and coach Joe Philbin at the combine to discuss Martin's future with the club. While Hickey expressed the team's desire that Martin remain a Dolphin, he reportedly was told that Martin was not comfortable returning.
Martin was a starting tackle for the Dolphins and remains under contract after leaving the team last season. An NFL report prepared by Ted Wells detailed the harassment and bullying that took place in Miami's locker room.
La Canfora's report also cites sources as saying Philbin used the meeting to blame Martin's agents for helping the situation explode from an in-house issue to a full-blown controversy.
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.
The Dolphins fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and head athletic trainer Kevin O'Neill in the wake of the report. The NFL has yet to announce disciplinary action on the team or players -- such as offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey -- whose actions were revealed in the report.
In a statement to La Canfora, Martin's agents denied the report was true.
The statement from Rick Smith, Martin's agent: "We have no idea where you got this information, but it wasn't even close."
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 25, 2014
Smith also added: "We'd appreciate it if everyone backed off and allowed the process to happen organically." — Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 25, 2014