Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dolphins' Martin still wants to play

Declares wish after meeting NFL counsel

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NEW YORK -- Jonathan Martin spent nearly seven hours going into "great detail" with the NFL counsel investigating his claims of his harassment in the Miami Dolphins' locker-room. What came up in their talks, he isn't saying for now.

He would say this: He still wants to play in the NFL.

Martin -- in town because the league is trying to gather information about the bullying he says he was subjected to by teammate Richie Incognito -- arrived at the Manhattan office building of special investigator Ted Wells on Friday morning, and didn't emerge until shortly after sunset. Mobbed by media, he stood in the camera lights and read a statement.

"Although I went into great detail with Mr. Ted Wells and his team, I do not intend to discuss this matter publicly at this time," Martin said. "This is the right way to handle the situation.

"Beyond that, I look forward to working through the process and resuming my career in the National Football League."

After that, he and attorney David Cornwell went back into the building, later leaving via a side exit.

The crowd outside the building drew attention from office workers and tourists all day. Some even stopped to watch and wait, and most seemed familiar with Martin's story.

Even Miami-based hop-hop artist Rick Ross came by. His record label is located in the building across the street.

Incognito has acknowledged leaving a voicemail for Martin in April in which he used a racial slur, threatened to kill his teammate and threatened to slap Martin's mother. Incognito has said he regrets the racist and profane language, but said it stemmed from a culture of locker-room "brotherhood," not bullying.

Incognito is white and Martin is black. Teammates, both black and white, have said Incognito is not a racist, and they've been more supportive of the veteran guard than they have of Martin.

Incognito has been suspended by the Dolphins. He filed a grievance Thursday against the team over his suspension, and has said his conduct was part of the normal locker-room environment.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross also plans to meet with Martin, who said Friday he will indeed get together with the Dolphins' front office. On Monday, Ross said two committees would examine the locker-room culture. Players have been virtually unanimous in saying it doesn't need to be changed.

At Dolphins practice Friday, long snapper John Denney, the team's players' union representative, was asked about problems.

"I can't say I saw it firsthand because I'm not an offensive lineman, and I'm not in their offensive line room. I can tell you from my perspective, and having been in this locker-room, I never saw it coming," he said. "I can say that. It was a surprise to me... It's been the same here my entire career."

Coach Joe Philbin also talked to reporters but kept his focus on football.

"I believe in the guys we have in the locker room," he said. "I believed in them before this all took place, before all this scrutiny came upon us."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 16, 2013 C6

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