The Tampa Bay Buccaneers start their offseason program today, and Doug Martin is in the building. That’s per Ian Rapoport, and a host of local reporters confirming that.
#Bucs RB Doug Martin, out of rehab and in a good place, is back in the team facility and participation in offseason conditioning.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 17, 2017
Martin started the year in a drug treatment facility, reportedly, after being suspended for four games prior to the final game of the 2016 season. Martin will have to miss the first three games of this season due to that suspension.
Martin’s suspension fell under the performance enhancing drugs policy of the NFL, but several PEDs can also be used as recreational drugs. Most reports indicate that the latter was Martin’s problem. But he also seems to have gotten over that problem, and the Bucs appear to be happy with how he’s doing.
Of course, being happy with how he’s doing and actually keeping him on the roster are two different things. While Martin’s off-field issues may be solved, as far as we can tell, there’s still the problem of his on-field performance. That performance has been inconsistent throughout his NFL career, and last year was the worst he’s played in five years in the NFL.
It’s largely unclear to what extent the Bucs are looking to replace Martin. They’ve been noncommittal on how they see his future, and there have been indications that they may draft a replacement in a couple of weeks.
If Martin can show the Bucs over the next two weeks that he’s back, they may pass on a running back early in the draft. If it’s clear that they’ll have to find a replacement, their first- or second-round pick may well be a running back.