DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The bizarre saga playing out between the Miami Dolphins and offensive tackle Jonathan Martin took new turns Sunday.
Martin went AWOL from the team last week amidst reports of bullying from his teammates and a specific incident in the team's lunchroom that was believed to be the final straw. Since then, speculation has run rampant about what was going on and who was behind the bullying.
Some of the speculation had been on Dolphins offensive guard Richie Incognito. The Dolphins guard told Jeff Darlington of the NFL Networks that he talked to Martin on Friday and he doesn't blame them for what happened, but rather the entire culture of the NFL.
Then, Sunday morning, after nearly a week of silence, the Miami Dolphins finally addressed the Martin situation with a statement that read:
"The Miami Dolphins, including Coach Joe Philbin and Jonathan's teammates, have been in communication with Jonathan and his family since his departure from the club and continue to be in contact. Our primary concern for Jonathan is his overall health and well-being. As an organization, we take any accusations of player misconduct seriously. The notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally. The reports that the NFLPA is investigating our players are inaccurate. Additionally, the NFL offered its assistance during this time, which we appreciated and gladly accepted. We will continue to make Jonathan's health and well-being a focus as we do with all of our players."
After the statement was released, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Martin will be placed on the non-football illness list as early as Tuesday. Rapoport also reported that Martin doesn't feel comfortable returning to the team "unless the situation changes dramatically in the Dolphins locker room."
Rapoport reported that the NFL Players Association isn't investigating, but is in "information gathering mode." The NFL.com report also said the league has offered assistance to everyone involved in the situation.
What's not immediately clear is whether the Dolphins will try to recoup any of Martin's salary for this season. Martin was scheduled to make $607,466 in base salary due to him this season. Martin still has two more season remaining on his contract with base salaries of $824,933 and $1.042 million.
UPDATE (4:30 p.m.) - The Dolphins issued a statement saying they have been informed by Martin about specific player misconduct.
"We received notification today from Jonathan's representation about allegations of player misconduct. We are taking these allegations very seriously and plan to review the matter further. We have also reached out to the NFL and asked them to conduct an objective and thorough review. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another."
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