It’s been a smooth transition for Jonathan Martin with the 49ers.
The former Stanford and Miami Dolphins offensive tackle -- who was constantly in the headlines last season because of his allegations of harassment by teammate Richie Incognito – has mostly flown under the radar since the Niners acquired him from the Dolphins.
Now on a team with rich storylines and hopes for returning to the Super Bowl, Martin has become just a minor story: a backup tackle hoping to earn a roster spot, and possibly play guard for the first time, too.
In fact, Martin said last month after organized team activities and before minicamp that he couldn’t hope for a better environment to return to football.
“It’s been great. I’ve got no complaints,” he told Bay Area reporters. “It’s a competitive environment, but everyone takes care of each other.”
But this week, former Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder said Martin could have a target on his uniform this season because of what happened in Miami.
Crowder, just recently retired, is now doing a radio show in South Florida, and he told David Jones of Florida Today that opponents will be tough on Martin in 2014 because of perceptions that he walked away from his teammates last season and publicly spoke about what went on in the Miami lockerroom.
“If anybody goes against Jonathan Martin, they have no respect for him,” Crowder said. “So he is going to get everybody’s best. Even as a starter he wasn’t that good, so now you are getting everybody’s best shot and you are a mediocre guy? He’s going to be out of the league in a little while.
“He’s (getting paid) until the ‘Bullygate’ thing dies down because Roger Goodell doesn’t want to start a storm because this guy got cut because he wasn’t tough enough and now you have to answer those questions.”
Martin’s new teammates with the 49ers, however, have been very supportive of him. And head coach Jim Harbaugh – who coached Martin at Stanford – believes any controversy following Martin will die away, and Martin will be just another player. He’s getting a fresh start.
“Like an Etch-A-Sketch,” Harbaugh said. “Lifting a page of the Etch-A-Sketch and write a whole new history for yourself.”
It appears, however, that some former Dolphins, such as Crowder, aren't quite ready to let Martin get a re-boot.