Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin wants to return to the NFL at some point, but does not feel he can play with the Miami Dolphins anymore and is unlikely to play again this season, ESPN reported Monday based on sources.
Martin left the team Oct. 28 after a lunchroom prank in which some teammates, including guard Richie Incognito, refused to sit next to him. Martin is in Los Angeles with his family and receiving counseling for emotional issues.
According to the ESPN report, Martin is relieved to be away from the team at the moment because the past season and a half was unbearable for him.
He tried to befriend teammates to avoid being picked on, but apparently that was unsuccessful.
Fox Sports reported Monday that Martin plans to release a video statement, perhaps this week, explaining in detail why he left the team.
Meanwhile, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross texted Martin last week and offered his support as the Incognito controversy began to take hold, a league source told ESPN.
In the text, Ross expressed to Martin what he also said in a team news release last week -- that he is committed to creating a professional environment for all members of his organization. Ross also has spoken to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the situation in Miami, as well as with other league officials.
Incognito, in his interview with Fox Sports on Sunday, confirmed that he did leave the controversial voice mail message to Martin in April that included a racial slur and a threat to kill Martin. Despite the scathing language, Incognito said his actions "came from a place of love" and that vulgar communication was normal among Dolphins players.
"I'm not a racist, and to judge me by that one word is wrong," Incognito said. "In no way, shape or form is it ever acceptable for me to use that word, even if it's friend-to-friend on a voice mail."
In a transcript of the voice mail message from April, Incognito referred to Martin as a "half n----- piece of s---," and added, "F--- you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."
"It's thrown around a lot," Incognito told Fox Sports. "It's a word that I've heard Jon use a lot. It's not saying it's right that I did it and used it in a voice mail. But it's a lot of colorful words that are being thrown around in a locker room that we don't use in everyday life."
Dolphins offensive lineman Mike Pouncey told ESPN's "Monday Night Football" crew that he thought Incognito's Sunday interview was "fantastic."
"It was absolutely true," Pouncey said. "(Incognito) was very sincere about a lot of things. He admitted when he was wrong and let the whole world know his side of the story."
The Dolphins (4-4) visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-8) on Monday night on ESPN.