Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland encouraged offensive tackle Jonathan Martin to "punch" teammate Richie Incognito if necessary before Martin left the team.
ProFootballTalk.com reported Thursday that Ireland received a call from agent Rick Smith on Martin's behalf. Smith phoned to share his concern with Ireland about mistreatement by Incognito, the report said.
In response, Ireland suggested to Smith that Martin physically confront Incognito. Ireland specifically mentioned that Martin should "punch" Incognito, per the report.
Martin left the Dolphins on Oct. 28 and reportedly checked into a hospital. He hopes to resume his football career, but how and where is unclear as the NFL investigation into misconduct allegations moves forward in Miami.
Players roundly defended themselves and even Incognito Wednesday against bullying, hazing and misconduct accusations, though several voiced a level of surprise at the situation they were facing in their own locker room.
Veteran outside linebacker Cam Wake said his biggest problem was "outside questions" of the team's character and leadership.
Incognito, who was on the Dolphins' team-voted leadership council, was suspended Sunday by coach Joe Philbin. Philbin said he was immediately in contact with Martin after an incident in the team cafeteria caused what is being described as an "emotional breakdown."
Martin left the team after the incident that was initially portrayed as a prank.