TAMPA – Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht has made no secret of his belief that running back Doug Martin came to camp this year in the best physical condition he’s ever been in.
Martin says he spent six days a week during the offseason working out at the Proactive Sports Performance training facility in Thousand Oaks, California and the results are indeed impressive.
Martin said he reduced his body fat by 2-percent to 6-percent, the lowest it’s ever been, all while staying at 223 pounds. He has, however, made one notable addition to his upper body.
“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder,’’ Martin said.
He should. Martin was in danger of being run off the roster after he was found to be in violation of the NFL’s PED policy and admitting to a drug dependency issue last December.
Now, some four months removed from a stint in a rehab facility to help him manage the dependency issue, Martin says he’s as anxious as ever to get on the football field each day.
“It’s a real relief to be out here,’’ Martin said. “I’m better than before and I want to show everybody that.’’
The unfortunate part, of course, is that Martin still has to serve out the final three games of his suspension, which means he’ll miss the first three games of the season.
There’s an additional fear as well that while he’s gone Martin could lose some of the conditioning he’s built up while in camp. Martin says, however, that he will have a plan to stay in shape.
“I will be out those three games, that’s just the reality of the situation, but during those three weeks I have to prepare myself to get my legs back under me and be ready to play,’’ Martin said.
“We’re going to go through fall camp (first) and then me and my people are going to come up with a regimen on what has to get done those three weeks. We’re going to get it right.’’
He’ll have to. Licht has also made it clear that there’s no guarantee Martin will return as the starter or that he’ll even retain his place on the roster.
You would have to think, though, that if Martin continues to look as good as he has in this camp, the Bucs will welcome him back with open arms no matter how well his replacement may be playing.
They’d be silly not to.