The primary victim in the Miami Dolphins' hazing scandal has been traded across the country to a far more comfortable environment.
Jonathan Martin, who left the Dolphins in the wake of locker-room hazing incidents led by former teammate Richie Incognito, has been traded to the San Francisco 49ers, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
For former Dolphins OT Jonathan Martin, SF traded a conditional 7th-rd pick in 2015 if he's on 49ers' opening 53-man roster.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2014
[Be sure to check out Shutdown Corner's NFL free-agent rankings. Click here for the list of offensive players, and click here for the list of defensive and special teams players]
Martin will be playing for 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, who coached him previously at Stanford.
When asked about Martin in the Wells Report, the league-commissioned study which investigated the extent of the hazing the past two seasons, Harbaugh said that he had few doubts that Martin could succeed in another environment in the NFL.
"(Harbaugh), told us that he had never doubted Martin's tenacity, work ethic and dedication to the game, and that he had never seen Martin exhibit problems with social adjustment," Wells' report explained. "Coach Harbaugh told us he believed that Martin likely could continue to have a successful career in the NFL. It appears that Martin was up to the challenge of dealing with physical or verbal intimidation by opposing players during NFL games, but fell victim, at least in part, to persistent taunting from his own teammates."
"Although initially quiet, he became a vocal leader on the team by his final year. Coach Harbaugh emphasized that he never doubted Martin's physical or mental toughness, and he believes that Martin can continue to have a successful career in the NFL. Coach Harbaugh also said that the atmosphere in the Stanford locker room, in his view, was not materially different from that of the San Francisco 49ers' locker room."
Now Martin can find out if Harbaugh's belief is true. Martin appeared excited about the news.
Opportunities are few in the NFL... Can't wait to get to work #9erEmpire— Jonathan A. Martin (@J_Martin71) March 12, 2014
There is little pressure on Martin to step in and be a star on what is already a talented line, but it does lack depth and youth. Martin has been a tackle since high school but could be used as a utility lineman, backing up at both tackle spots and perhaps even inside. The 49ers' biggest need, depending on what happens with Jonathan Goodwin, could be at center, a position Martin hasn't previously played in college or the NFL.
Clearly, not everyone was in Martin's corner in the Dolphins' locker room. Witness this tweet by Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero, who passed on a note from one of Martin's former teammates.
Text from a Dolphins player who obviously heard of Martin trade: "Addition by subtraxtion." I don't care he misspelled subtraction.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) March 12, 2014
The 49ers and Dolphins do not play each other in 2014.
The 49ers were surprisingly busy on the first day of the league year, signing safety Antoine Bethea to replace Donte Whitner, trading for Martin and quarterback Blaine Gabbert and re-signing kicker Phil Dawson and cornerback Eric Wright.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, began their overhaul of the offensive line by signing Branden Albert to a massive contract to fill Martin's former left tackle spot. Martin's deal averages more than $9 million per year.
But now, perhaps most important, the Dolphins and Martin can try to put the hazing incident behind them and move on.
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