With the Ted Wells report finally being released, the final chapter of the Miami Dolphins' 2013 season can be written and the team can move on to 2014. It's been nearly four months since tackle Jonathan Martin left the team and guard Richie Incognito was suspended over the allegations levied by Martin. The Wells report, however, did not stop with just Incognito harassing Martin.
The report clearly points to Mike Pouncey and John Jerry as part of the issue. According to the report, the two followed Incognito's lead, and the problem likely would not have escalated to this level if not for Incognito, but Pouncey and Jerry were a part of the "pattern of harassment."
Throughout the report, Wells writes Incognito believed he and Martin were close friends, who, while crude, were simply joking with each other. Martin, however, felt the jokes were designed to humiliate him and wished he were strong enough to stand up to Incognito.
Either way, there still does not appear any way that either player returns to the team next year. Clearly, Wells places the majority of the blame for the situation on Incognito, though he does stress that Martin's own insecurities and low self-esteem magnified the issues. Reports have stated that Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin wanted to release Incognito before the 2013 season - the chances for the team renewing Incognito's contract now are not going to be increased.
As for Martin, texts revealed during the investigation demonstrate the anger toward him from within the team, and his presence within the locker room likely will not be welcomed by the players.
Those two most likely will not be the only ones not returning to the team. Offensive line coach Jim Turner will also feel the fallout from the report. Turner took part in some of the harassment, specifically of Nate Garner as well as giving an unnamed player a male blow-up doll as a Christmas gift, while giving the rest of the linemen a female one, because the players joked that the unnamed player was gay.
Perhaps more damning than conducting those activities, however, is the repeated denials from Turner, who conveniently could not remember any of the events while being interviewed for the report.
The Dolphins hired former Houston Texans offensive line coach John Benton as their "assistant offensive line coach" this offseason, likely positioning a replacement for Turner if the report found him at fault.
The report did clear head coach Joe Philbin and former GM Jeff Ireland of any part of the harassment, or in causing it with instructions to "toughen" up Martin. The report explained that Philbin took steps to assist Martin with depression related issues as early as May 2013, not knowing there were harassment problems as well. Turner actually was commended in the report for his actions during the May situation as well, in which Martin suddenly disappeared from minicamp and Turner spoke with the tackle.
The Dolphins released a statement today:
"We have just received the report from Ted Wells and will review it in detail before responding relative to the findings. When we asked the NFL to conduct this independent review, we felt it was important to take a step back and thoroughly research these serious allegations. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another."
We will have to wait to see when that response will come, and whether it will include Turner. However, the Dolphins have to want to end this saga as quickly as possible.