Jonathan Martin, whose NFL career looked to be in jeopardy as he faced fire for claiming he was bullied by Miami Dolphin teammate Richie Incognito, officially started anew Thursday. With the passing of his physical, he became a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
“It’s a blank slate for me,” Martin said in a conference call from 49ers headquarters Thursday night. “I’m looking to revitalize my career, getting back to playing … I couldn’t be happier.”
The Dolphins are glad to be rid of Martin, who just could not return to the team after the national controversy that followed his claims. Miami will receive a seventh-round draft pick from the Niners if Martin is on their opening-day roster.
Martin left the Dolphins last fall after accusing teammate Incognito of bullying in a scandal that overshadowed the franchise’s 8-8 season. An investigation conducted by Ted Wells for the NFL determined last month that Incognito and two other offensive linemen engaged in persistent harassment of Martin, another offensive lineman, and an assistant trainer.
Martin said he has moved beyond the tumult.
“I’m not worried about that,” he said. “All that’s in the past at this point.”
The trade reunites Martin with Jim Harbaugh and several other members of the 49ers’ staff who coached him at Stanford. Harbaugh was supportive of Martin throughout the scandal and vouched for him in the Wells report.
“I think it worked out great to once again be playing for Coach Harbaugh, once again in the Bay Area,” Martin said. “Playing for a winning franchise, a team that’s had a lot of recent success. And to hopefully be able to contribute to further success with this team. … It’s been a warm welcome.”
Martin, who is taking classes at Stanford, likely will be the sixth man on the 49ers’ line and will be a swing tackle. He could potentially play guard, although he never has played at the spot.
“I have to earn my spot on this team,” Martin said. “I’m open to anything. (Retirement) didn’t even cross my mind. I’m a football player. . . Hopefully, I will retire after a 10-year career.”