Jonathan Martin headed for the San Francisco 49ers practice facility Thursday for the first time since his trade from the Miami Dolphins and, no surprise, the place felt like home.
For one thing, the Bay Area is home. He’s back there working out and working on completing his undergraduate degree in the classics. Martin and 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh, who had coached him at Stanford, discovered they were only a half-mile apart when news of his trade came down Monday night. “I can’t wait to give him a big hug,” Harbaugh told USA Today and spoke of Martin’s “Etch A Sketch opportunity.” That was on Martin’s mind as he spoke with reporters on a conference call Thursday afternoon.
“I can tell already that I’m going to get along just great with those guys,” Martin said (via SFgate.com). “I’ve felt a warm welcome from the entire 49ers community, fan base, coaching staff, everybody. I’m just looking forward to the future and getting back to playing football.”
He wasn’t interested in talking about the “pattern of harassment” found by an investigator looking into the Dolphins’ locker-room culture.
“My focus is 100 percent on the future and moving forward,” he said. “It’s a blank slate for me. I’m looking forward to revitalizing my career, getting back to playing. I want to do whatever I can to contribute to this O-line. It’s one of the best O-lines in football already.”
Martin, who was traded for a seventh-round 2015 draft pick that hinges on whether is on the 53-man roster on opening day, isn’t a lock for NFL success, but the 49ers (like the Indianapolis Colts, where former Stanford teammates Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener play) would seem to give him his best chance. Although he walked away from the Dolphins late last October, he is committed to playing football and knows he has to “earn his spot on the team.”
“I’m a football player. I’ve been a football player my entire adult life,” Martin, 24, said. “My goal is to have a successful NFL career. I’m just looking forward to the future… and hopefully retiring as a 10-year vet.”