SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jonathan Martin is returning to familiar territory, months after he accused a teammate of bullying and left the Miami Dolphins.
The offensive tackle is headed back to the Bay Area to play for Jim Harbaugh – again.
Martin was traded from Miami to the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday night, reuniting the lineman with his college coach at Stanford and a supportive coaching staff he knows well. In fact, Harbaugh publicly expressed his support of Martin last year and called him a “personal friend.”
The Dolphins announced the move late on the first day of NFL free agency. San Francisco then confirmed the trade, saying only that it would send an undisclosed draft choice to Miami and that Martin still must pass a physical to complete the deal.
“Big news…. Beyond Blessed … Opportunities are few in the NFL… Can’t wait to get to work (hashtag)9erEmpire,” Martin posted on Twitter.
The 24-year-old Martin’s move cross-country brings him back to Northern California but he is already in town, back on the Stanford campus taking classes.
“This is great for him to get back on the field and he’s in Palo Alto right now. It couldn’t be much better,” his agent, Ken Zuckerman, said in a phone interview. “I just think everyone wanted this to happen. Harbaugh knows Jonathan, I think the Dolphins were compensated and Jonathan wants to get back on the field. It’s a good day.”
An investigation for the NFL determined last month that Dolphins guard Richie Incognito and two other offensive linemen engaged in persistent harassment of Martin, another offensive lineman and an assistant trainer.
“As far as that situation, there’s only one thing I can intelligently comment on and that’s knowing Jonathan Martin,” Harbaugh said in November. “I know him to be a fine person, and his family. … [He] epitomizes the student-athlete model and [is] a personal friend. I support Jonathan.”
The trade capped a busy first day for the 49ers, who lost to the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship game.
Martin left the Dolphins in late October, underwent counseling for emotional issues and alleged he was harassed by teammates. Incognito was then suspended for the final eight games.
“We feel that this move is in the best interests of all parties involved,” Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey said. “We wish Jonathan well.”