Offensive lineman Jonathan Martin has decided to retire from the NFL, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). Rapoport reports that Martin has a back injury that would have required surgery sidelined him for the 2015 season, so he’s opting to walk away from his playing career instead.
Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link) classifies Martin’s departure from the league as “stepping away from football, at least for now,” which suggests he could return to the game at some point. 49ers offensive lineman Anthony Davis and Buccaneers cornerback C.J. Wilson are among the other players who have announced that sort of tentative retirement this summer.
Martin, who was at the center of the Dolphins’ bullying scandal in 2013, reportedly receiving verbal abuse from Richie Incognito and others, was sent to the 49ers in a trade in March 2014. Although he started nine games last season at right tackle for San Francisco, Martin wasn’t particularly effective, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). PFF graded Martin as a below-average run blocker and pass blocker, placing him 60th out of 84 qualified offensive tackles.
Martin was cut by the Niners and claimed by the Panthers earlier this year, and according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer (via Twitter), the 25-year-old was healthy during Carolina’s OTAs and June minicamp. Garafolo tweets that Martin’s back injury occurred during a recent workout, and he was told not to engage in any physical activity for at least six weeks.
If Martin doesn’t play another NFL game, he’ll finish his NFL career with 38 games (32 starts) on his résumé, for the Dolphins and 49ers.