— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 13, 2014
It's been nearly four months since tackle Jonathan Martin walked out of the Miami Dolphins facility, deserting the team mid-season and levying allegations of player misconduct and bullying at his teammates. Guard Richie Incognito took the brunt of the blame, with Martin's representatives leaking voicemail transcripts and text messages without context, looking to solidify their claim that Incognito methodically targeted Martin, using threats and racially insensitive language to belittle the second-year tackle.
The NFL, at Dolphins owner Stephen Ross' request, launched an investigation into the situation, with attorney Ted Wells appointed to conduct the the look into the Dolphins' locker room culture. It appears the results of that investigation could finally be released as early as today, possibly not until early next week.
After months of playing football without Martin, months of dealing with this story, and a common knowledge that both Marin and Incognito had played their final games with Miami, suddenly NFL.com's Ian Rapoport threw out the possibility that Martin may not be done with the Dolphins.
Could Martin actually return to the locker room he tried to destroy this year?
To some degree, it makes sense. Incognito is a free agent and will likely not return. General manager Jeff Ireland is gone, with Dennis Hickey now running the front office. Obviously, the coaches will be more attentive to the locker room and the interactions between players.
This reeks, however, of the Dolphins trying to find a way to trade Martin, rather than release him and receive nothing in return. Martin burned his bridges to the team over the past four months. He and the team may be trying to run a rope across that chasm to make it appear a reconciliation is possible, but there is little chance Martin once again dons a Dolphins uniform. He has made it clear that he does not want to be in the locker room in South Florida, and the team - and his former teammates - have made it clear they do not want him back with the club.
As we all know, nothing is impossible in the NFL. Ricky Williams quit football just before the 2004 training camp, spinning the Dolphins into a 4-12 season and leading to Dave Wannstedt's resignation. Hatred of Williams was everywhere, yet in 2005, he was back with the team. In 2006, Williams was suspended for the entire season, again leaving the Dolphins without their lead running back. He was reinstated in mid 2007, only to have an injury cost him the season after just six carries.
Returns after abandoning the team can happen. Williams proved that. Can Martin? Probably not. The Dolphins are likely trying to convince someone out there that they are not against holding on to their 2012 second round draft pick, and will not simply cut him at some point.
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