The Tampa Bay Buccaneers declined to pick up Doug Martin's fifth-year option last month, but they've maintained that Martin is their starting running back. And for what it's worth, he has looked pretty good so far. If he can keep that up into training camp, when the team will work with pads and contact is actually allowed, he may be on the road back. Or at least on the road toward being serviceable.
Martin isn't saying he wants a new contract, even though he'll be out of a job at the end of this season if things don't change. But the Bucs hope he'll earn one anyway. Jason Licht's comments via USA Today:
"I hit him right between the eyes and said, 'Hey, before you see this, we're not picking up your option, but this could be a good thing for you.' This doesn't mean that we don't want you here long-term. It just means basically you have a carrot in front of you right now. Hopefully, we're sitting here in a few months talking about an extension.'"
Well, if that happens the Muscle Hamster will have looked very good over those few months. Obviously that would be a good thing. Speaking of Muscle Hamster: Martin revealed (again) in that same USA Today article that he really, really hates being called Muscle Hamster.
I can't change the nickname, though. We polled the fans back in 2012 in the middle of Martin's awesome rookie season, and Muscle Hamster won. He's stuck with it. Sorry.