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Lovie Smith: 'We haven't seen the true Doug Martin'

Do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still believe in running back Doug Martin?

Coach Lovie Smith told a gathering of team suite holders on Thursday that "we haven't seen the true Doug Martin yet," per Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune.

Smith went on to praise Tampa's stable of backs -- including Bobby Rainey, Mike James and Charles Sims -- while noting that new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is excited to see what a healthy Martin can accomplish in 2015.

Three years removed from a sizzling rookie campaign that saw him rumble for 1,454 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns, Martin has been slowed by shoulder, knee and ankle injuries over the past two seasons. After burning through opponents for 4.6 yards per carry as a rookie, he's logged just 3.6 yards per tote since. It's worth noting that Martin played last season behind an absolute train wreck of an O-line.

With the team also high on Sims, it's possible Martin is seen by coaches as a viable early-down committee back, with Sims taking over on passing downs. 

Still, we wouldn't be shocked to see the Bucs trade Martin if they can find an interested party -- or even release him before the season. He won't generate much in a swap, but runner-needy teams might latch on to the promise Martin showed before the problems set in.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down the latest moves and debates if Michael Bennett should change his tune on Jimmy Graham. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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