TAMPA – Just as the end of the 2016 season, Buccaneers running back Doug Martin has an uncertain future with team and the team may be tipping it’s hand that they’ve moved on from the sixth year running back.
The Buccaneers announced 90 minutes before their Monday Night Game that Martin, who started a week ago against Detroit, would be a healthy inactive due to “an undisclosed violation of team rules.” This means that Peyton Barber will be starting and playing a good portion of the game in his place.
We have recently written that the Bucs appeared to be leaning towards using Barber, a second year undrafted free agent, more down the stretch of the season to find out if he can be part of the future.
As for Martin, he tested positive for banned substance a year ago and served game one of his four game suspension in the Bucs finale’. Then, served the last three games of the suspension to begin this year.
Martin has never found a rhythm this year running for only 402 yards and three TDs in nine games. And, had a critical fumble at the end of the first half last week against the Lions. He did not play in the second half.
The suspension voided the guaranteed money in Martin’s new five year contract that he signed after finishing second in the NFL in rushing in 2015. This makes it easier for the Bucs to cut ties with him after this year.
Even though coach Dirk Koetter has repeatedly backed Martin publicly in recent weeks, you have to wonder if this is the last straw for what started in 2012, as promising career in Tampa Bay.
Koetter was asked for an explanation after Tampa Bay’s 24-21 defeat Monday night and repeated the decision to keep Martin completely out of the game, “was a violation of team rules, and it’s done…That’s just one of those things that unfortunately has to happen from time to time. It’s behind us now, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.”
Is Doug Martin “behind us now,” also?
The Bucs will speak with actions over their final two games.
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