Tetherball. That is what this reminds me of. Don’t remember it? Don’t know it? It’s a simple game played by two people. A big pole sticks in the ground and at the top of that pole is a tether. At the bottom of the tether is a ball about the size of a volleyball. You hit the ball to form an arc in the hopes that the tether will wrap all the way around the pole while the guy on the other side tries to volley it back to you in his attempt to do the same. It’s boring. So is this Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito stuff.
The latest volley is from ESPN who cites an un-named source…aren’t they all…that Jonathan Martin wants to continue playing in the NFL. Just not with the Miami Dolphins. These “sources” that are close to the Martin camp…yes, apparently he now has a camp that is formed around some “treatment facility” in southern California. Anyways, Martin apparently made “friends” with the other lineman because he couldn’t take and didn’t want to be bullied and/or harassed. So it’s said.
The thought of Miami releasing a very promising OT who was drafted in the 2nd round is disturbing but it’s likely there won’t be any other option. The value of Martin is as close to nil and frankly Miami might have a better chance of signing Chad Johnson and trading him. Across the NFL landscape a serious trust issue is going to arise when Martin comes into a locker room again. In fact, Miami may be his 2nd best option to play in the NFL simply because his teammates are likely to forgive far before they forget.
Stephen Ross has promised Martin a safe and harassment free work environment but no owner or coach can keep a locker room of men from being well, a locker room full of men. The sexual harassment of a female reporter in New England got far less attention than this. The point is that Martin has little trade value if any and the Dolphins likely can’t bring him back because frankly he is scared. Sorry, that is not an opinion it’s a truth. Martin is concerned about retribution among other things and sees an environment that he is uncomfortable in.
In another locker room Martin may face some stinging realizations. Players may test him to see how much they can trust him. Coaches may coddle him to make sure their investment doesn’t walk out. Forget about opposing defenders who know they can get into his head. Reality sucks and right now for Martin his reality of want may be something that isn’t met with “yes please.”
One team however stands out as a destination and to be honest it is the only destination that I can link Martin to. So much so that it almost makes me wonder if this wasn’t a predetermined plan from the start or at least midway through the season last year and into the off-season this year. I’m speaking of the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts need lineman. Badly. Jonathan Martin needs a new home where he will feel safe to a degree. The Colts are led by Andrew Luck and Martin spent his time in Stanford protecting Luck’s blind side. The team is Luck’s and there is no question about that. He is their leader and if he says to lay off Martin, you can bet that is exactly what will happen. Martin would also join two other of his former teammates in college including TE Coby Fleener. Martin is likely to find a haven there and he would likely feel less pressure to become a top notch LT or even a RT. It’s the only destination that makes sense.
Last week former Dolphins Lydon Murtha said that Martin arrived to Miami standoffish and not ready to make friends yet his own camp says he acclimated solely to avoid harassment. Seems his nature of not wanting to be friends is confirmed by his own camp.
The issue to me is that regardless of who the ESPN source was or is the idea of Martin returning to Miami this year seems especially impossible. The team is moving on without him and the distraction stands to make deep cuts into the teams hierarchy. Players won’t forgive huge changes that reflect on them and let’s remember Richie Incognito is not the only one being named…only the one actually called out by name. Martin’s return to Miami is as clouded as the testimony he will give the assigned investigator and despite the leagues promise of making everything public it’s highly doubtful that “everything” would be public.
While Martin may or may not return and more than likely will not, the case itself will have a profound impact on his career as he like Incognito have already been judged and found guilty in the court of public opinion. If the facts that come to light shed a little darkness on Martin’s claim, he may never find a job in the NFL again.
ESPN has hit the ball back around the pole how soon it gets hit back again is unknown but at the rate things are going I would say sometime before the end of tonights game.