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Buccaneers decline fifth-year option of Doug Martin

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Running backs returned to the first-round of the NFL draft this past weekend, but one former first-round tailback is getting some less-than thrilling news.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not pick up the fifth-year option for running back Doug Martin, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

The Tampa Bay Times first reported the news Monday.

After rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns on 319 carries as a rookie, the man known as the Muscle Hamster has struggled to perform and stay on the field the past two seasons. He has earned fewer than 500 yards rushing each of the past two years and averaged less than 3.8 yards per carry.

The 5-foot-9 running back has seen his ability to break tackles diminish, his burst hindered by injury and his pass protection struggle.

Martin, 26, was part of a 2012 first-round running back class that included Trent Richardson and David Wilson. The trio's struggles set into motion NFL teams being gun-shy about taking running backs in the first round. That fear ended this week with the selections of Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon.

Martin was the subject of trade discussion by the Bucs during last season.

The Muscle Hamster tentatively remains atop the depth chart for 2015 in what will be a prove-it year for the running back. He'll battle for carries with Bobby Rainey, Mike James and Charles Sims.

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