Backup Panthers offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, best known for his role in the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal two years ago, has decided to retire, team sources confirmed to the Observer.
Martin, who was claimed by Carolina off waivers in March, has a back injury that could require surgery, according to NFL Network. At 25 years old, Martin decided to retire just days before the start of the Panthers’ training camp in Spartanburg.
According to FOX Sports, Martin suffered the injury during a recent workout and would require sitting out for at least six weeks.
Martin participated fully in OTAs and veteran minicamp last month as the primary backup to left tackle Michael Oher. Rookie Daryl Williams was serving as the primary backup at right tackle to Mike Remmers. David Foucault, Martin Wallace and Nate Chandler are the other tackles on Carolina’s roster.
Martin started in 32 of his 38 NFL games for the Dolphins and 49ers. While with the Dolphins in 2013, Martin left the team for “emotional reasons,” and a later report found that he had been the subject of bullying in the locker room.
“All that’s in the past. My focus has always been just moving forward to what’s next,” Martin said during a conference call with Charlotte reporters after signing with the Panthers. “Now after I’ve spent a year in San Francisco I’m with the Panthers, and just looking forward to my opportunity and making the most of it.”
After an unsuccessful one-year stint in San Francisco, the Panthers claimed Martin off waivers as the team tried to overhaul its offensive tackle depth.
Martin was still on his original rookie deal from 2012. Because of retirement he will forfeit the $1.042 million he was set to receive from Carolina this season.
The Dolphins, Martin’s original team, will travel to Spartanburg next month for two days of joint practices with the Panthers. The teams play an exhibition in Charlotte on Aug. 22.
Staff writer Joseph Person contributed.