Running back Doug Martin is “stepping away” from the Buccaneers to take care of some personal issues, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Martin was bumped from the active roster as a healthy scratch in Week 16 and the team was prepared to do the same in the regular season finale. The running back is expected to release a statement this afternoon.
In Martin’s stead, Jacquizz Rodgers is expected to get the start. Running back Charles Sims is headed back to IR after suffering a pectoral injury. Behind Rodgers will be running backs Peyton Barber and Russell Hansbrough.
Last year, Martin gained 1,673 yards from scrimmage and scored seven touchdowns. He parlayed that success into a five-year, $35.7MM extension prior to the start of free agency. He’s slated to be under contract with Tampa Bay through 2020 and his guarantees mean that there’s little point to releasing him before the start of next season.
This weekend’s regular season finale will, in all likelihood, be the end of the line for the Bucs. In addition to winning their own game, the Bucs can only make the playoffs if they also see wins from the Cowboys, Titans, Colts, 49ers, and Lions with the Giants tying the Redskins.
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