Panthers' Martin contemplates retirement after back injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Carolina Panthers offense tackle Jonathan Martin, the lineman harassed during the Miami Dolphins' 2013 bullying scandal, is contemplating retirement following a back injury.

Martin's agent Ken Zuckerman told The Associated Press on Monday his client recently injured his back during a workout. Zuckerman said doctors informed Martin he's not allowed to do any activity for six weeks and needs surgery, putting his availability for the season in question.

NFL.com first reported Monday that Martin planned to retire.

The Panthers said they had no news information regarding Martin's status.

Zuckerman said he advised Martin ''not to rule anything out,'' but added that his client would rather retire than have surgery.

The agent did not want to discuss the exact nature of the injury.

''He tells me he's not going to play,'' Zuckerman said. ''I told him to never say never (because) there are always medical advancements. If his back has a miraculous comeback without surgery he would like to play.''

Martin, 25, signed with Carolina earlier this offseason. He's been working with the second team. He participated in all drills during the team's OTAs and minicamps last month.

Martin made national headlines in 2013 when he abruptly left the Dolphins during the season amid reports he was bullied by teammates on the offensive line, including Richie Incognito. Incognito was suspended by the Dolphins in 2013 and Martin underwent counseling.

Neither player played for the Dolphins again.

In a 144-page report commissioned by the NFL, it was determined that Incognito and two other Dolphins offensive linemen, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, ''engaged in a pattern of harassment'' toward Martin, another young offensive lineman later identified as Andrew McDonald, and an well as an assistant trainer.

Martin spent last season with the San Francisco 49ers where he played in 15 games with nine starts. In three NFL seasons Martin has played in 38 games and started 32.

He is scheduled to make $1.042 million this season but would forfeit that money if he chose to retire.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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