Dolphins' Jonathan Martin wants to return to NFL


Jonathan Martin is ready to get back to playing football.

The offensive tackle told Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy repeatedly that he misses the competitiveness of football and the camaraderie of the locker room.

"I'm ready to get back to football," Martin said in an interview that aired Wednesday on NBC Sports Network. "We are here and the Super Bowl is on Sunday. And I just love the competitive aspect of it, so I can't wait to get back to it."

Martin told Dungy that he didn't feel comfortable in the Miami Dolphins locker room and left the team for his "own health." But he didn't raise his concerns to coach Joe Philbin

Martin felt the overdose of vulgarity in the Dolphins' locker room was too much to take.

"It was comments of a racial nature, aggressive, sexual comments related to my sister and my mother," Martin said. "I spoke to my teammates, former teammates in other locker rooms across the NFL and asked, 'Does this stuff go on? Is this normal rookie hazing?' The consensus was this is not normal."

Martin departed the Dolphins in late October 2013. Shortly afterward, allegations arose regarding teammate Richie Incognito due to a voice mail in which Incognito used a racial slur and threatened violence toward Martin.

Incognito later defended the message, saying he was just trying to shock a friend and didn't mean to hurt Martin.

"I wish I would have had more tools to solve my situation," Martin told Dungy. "I felt trapped, like I didn't have a way to make it right. It came down to a point where, you know, I felt it was best to just remove from myself from the situation."

Here are some other notes from Martin's nearly 25-minute interview:

On whether he talked to the Dolphins:

"I did mention to members of the organization that I was struggling. I had some conversations with my coaches immediately above me. I didn't get into specifics. There is this code of conduct that players have. You're not supposed to 'snitch' on your teammates. I wanted to be friends with these teammates. I didn't see it as my place to go above the heads of leaders of offensive linemen to talk to coaches about my teammates... to go behind their back and go to a coach, I didn't see that as an avenue to me."

Did he talk to head coach Joe Philbin?

"I did not. It was something I didn't feel comfortable sharing, because I wanted to be friends with my teammates. I worked hard to be friends with Richie Incognito and others. I think it's important to build these friendships with teammates. So I turned it back on myself. What did I do wrong to be treated like this?"

The evolution of the NFL:
Take a look at how the NFL has evolved from its humble roots, and the efforts being made to ensure it continues to grow.

On who he felt threatened by

"It was more than one (individual). I think it was the accepted culture. Like I said, I'm a football player, I'm a professional. I don't think there is a place to disrespect people in a professional sport. Offensive linemen are like a brotherhood."

On love of the game:

"I love football. I think that's been clear all along. ... It's a part of who I am. I don't think you can question my love for the game. It's always been there. It's never left, so honestly, I just cannot wait to get back to playing in the NFL."

On reports that he checked into a hospital after leaving the team:

"That has been reported but I don't think that is what is important. I think what is important is what happened that led me to leave. What made me to feel uncomfortable to the point where I had to leave. That is what has been important."

On whether he was friends with Incognito:

"I wanted to be (Richie Incognito's friend). I worked hard to be his friend. We would hang out off the field. I did everything I possibly could to befriend the leaders on the offensive line. Because, like I said, you need to perform as a unit."

"I was a working-based friend. I wanted to be his friend."

(Tony Dungy: But were you?)

"Ya, like I said, I was trying to be his friend, but it was a hard situation. I didn't know what to do."

What type of locker room he is looking for in a potential return

"I want to play football and I want to be on a team and I want to be in that same environment because you can't get that in any other mode of life. Once you leave the game, you find yourself missing the relationships you formed, more so than you miss the on-the-field play. In my brief time away, I've already -- I miss that. I miss the camaraderie and brotherhood that you form in the locker room."

The latest "Around The League Podcast" breaks down the Media Day stars and reflects on the significance of Super Bowl XLVIII.