Doug Martin is making his way back onto the field. The Tampa Bay Bucaneers running back had a disastrous 2016 season that ended with a four-game suspension, three of which will be served at the start of this season.
More worryingly, Martin entered rehab to deal with a drug problem—we still don’t know what that problem was, exactly, but it did lead to that four-game suspension.
All of that made Martin’s future with the Bucs very insecure, but since then all signs have been positive. The Bucs only new addition at running back was fifth-round pick Jeremy McNichols, who probably won’t unseat Martin, and head coach Dirk Koetter has been positive about Martin’s progress the last few months.
On Thursday, Martin spoke to the media for the first time since his suspension, and said some generic but positive things about moving on and getting ready for the season.
“It’s behind me. It is definitely behind me,” Martin said. “I’m just coming out here and just doing what I do. So, I am just coming out here and just practicing, my best and doing my best to help this team.”
“Right now, I am just doing what everybody else is doing, just coming out here in the OTAs. For the three games that I’m not playing, I’m just going to continue to stay in shape. I might go somewhere to a special trainer and train with them and just keep studying my playbook.”
Sounds good to me. All signs continue to point to Martin being on the team this year, and probably the Bucs’ main back once he returns from his suspension.
The Bucs don’t have to make a decision until he does return from suspension, though. They don’t owe him any money if they cut him before week four. But as long as nothing changes, there’s no real reason to believe they’re going to move on.