When Doug Martin signed with the Raiders as a free agent this past March, he wanted to prove he could still play.
Though the former Tampa Bay star had twice run for more than 1,400 yards in a season – his second time in 2015 – Martin was coming off three straight disappointing and injury-marred years.
So, he got a fresh start in Oakland on a one-year contract.
Now, with the 2018 season over, it’s obvious Martin proved his point. The 29-year-old spent much of the first half of the season on the bench behind No. 1 back Marshawn Lynch. But once Lynch was hurt, Martin shined. He started nine games, finished the season with back-to-back 100-yard efforts vs. the Broncos and Chiefs and averaged 4.2 yards per carry, the third-highest average of his career.
It’s not certain if Martin will return to the Raiders in 2019. The running back corps is to be determined. Lynch and Martin are both unsigned, and the Raiders may choose to pursue a big-name free agent such as former Steelers star Le’Veon Bell.
But if head coach Jon Gruden does decide to bring back Martin as part of his reserve corps, Martin has shown he can still be a playmaker.
Over the last five games of 2018, Martin averaged 67.8 rushing yards and scored four TDs.
When Gruden said during the season that Martin remains a “feature back” in the NFL, Martin agreed. Then, he proved it. “I’ve still got a lot of miles left on these wheels,” he said.
The question now is, which uniform will Martin be wearing in 2019?