The lawyer conducting the NFL’s investigation into possible bullying at the Miami Dolphins wrapped up an opening series of interviews with every player and coach, along with others who work for the team.
A statement released Saturday by the law firm of he investigator, Ted Wells, added: “Our work will continue over the next few weeks.” The league had not given an indication how long the inquiry may last.
Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin says he was harassed daily by teammates, including fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito.
Martin left the Dolphins on Oct. 28.
Incognito was suspended indefinitely by the team on Nov. 3 and missed his third consecutive game Sunday, when the Dolphins lost to the Carolina Panthers.
Incognito agreed Nov. 21 to postpone his grievance hearing challenging the suspension until Wells completes his investigation. In a statement, Incognito said he would cooperate fully with Wells with a goal of rejoining the Dolphins.
“We have concluded our initial round of interviews with the Miami Dolphins and spent time with every player and coach, as well as key staff members and management,” Saturday’s statement from Wells said.
He thanked Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and “players, coaches and staff for their complete cooperation throughout this process.”
Wells met a week earlier with Martin in New York.
Martin, a second-year pro from Stanford, has said he wants to play football again. He has been with family in California undergoing treatment for emotional issues.
Incognito has said he regrets racist and profane language he used with Martin but said it stemmed from a culture of locker room “brotherhood,” not bullying.
Wells is expected to determine the roles of head coach Joe Philbin, other coaches and Miami’s front office. The NFL has said his final report will be made public.
Ross has acknowledged that changes are needed and formed two committees to study the team’s locker room culture. Miami lost to the Panthers Sunday 20-16, falling to a comeback in which quarterback Cam Newton converted a fourth-and-10 situation at his 20 with a completion and an eventual touchdown with 43 seconds left. Carolina (8-3) overcame a 16-3 first-half deficit for their seventh win in a row, their longest streak since 2003.
Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill nearly connected with Wallace for a 60-yard score in the final seconds but the pass fell incomplete at the goal line.
“That’s a tough play,” Tannehill said afterwards. “You’re basically a hope and a prayer and get it out there.” Tannehill and Wallace earlier teamed up for a 53-yard touchdown and a 57-yard completion to set up a field goal. The Dolphins (5-6) fell to 2-2 since Martin left the team and Incognito was suspended.
“We’ve got to make plays at the end when it counts,” receiver Mike Wallace said. “We’ve got to have a killer instinct. I don’t think we have it that well right now. We’ve got to do a better job of putting teams away.” A backbreaker for Miami? “I’m not sure there’s any other word to describe that,” defensive lineman Jared Odrick said. The Dolphins will next play archrival Jets in New York at 1 p.m. Sunday. Both teams are 5-6 overall.