Harbaugh: Martin can have successful career

Harbaugh: Martin can have successful career
February 14, 2014, 2:30 pm
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Coach Harbaugh told us he believed that Martin likely could continue to have a successful career in the NFL.
Ted Wells' Report

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The 49ers have been in the market for a swing tackle – a backup who can serve on both sides of the offensive line.

And former Stanford star Jonathan Martin’s career is in limbo after leaving the Miami Dolphins in October amid allegations he was the subject of harassment from teammates, including Richie Incognito.

[RELATED: Jonathan Martin breaks the mold, encourages independent thinking]

Coach Jim Harbaugh, who recruited Martin to Stanford and served as he coach, was interviewed as part of Ted Wells’ report into the matter. In the report, which was released on Friday, Harbaugh said he believes Martin, 24, can continue to have a successful career in professional football after leaving the Dolphins midway through his second NFL season.

“Although some have questioned Martin’s toughness, he started every game during his time in the NFL—sixteen starts as a rookie and seven in 2013 before he left the team,” the report states. “Jim Harbaugh, Martin’s former head coach at Stanford and the current head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, told us that he had never doubted Martin’s tenacity, work ethic and dedication to the game, and that he had never seen Martin exhibit problems with social adjustment. Coach Harbaugh told us he believed that Martin likely could continue to have a successful career in the NFL. It appears that Martin was up to the challenge of dealing with physical or verbal intimidation by opposing players during NFL games, but fell victim, at least in part, to persistent taunting from his own teammates.”

RELATED: Read full Ted Wells' report]

On Page 58 of the 144-page report, Harbaugh is referenced again:

“Several former Stanford football players, as well as coaches Harbaugh and (David) Shaw, concurred that Martin was a talented athlete and a great teammate, with an admirable work ethic. Both Coach Harbaugh and Coach Shaw emphasized that Martin was a well-adjusted and popular player while at Stanford.

“Martin enjoyed the camaraderie on the Stanford team and did not feel that he was inappropriately hazed or otherwise harassed in college. He claimed that although his Stanford teammates teased each other from time to time, the jokes were generally good-natured; for example, it was reported that he was ribbed for speaking in a slow, deep voice. Although initially quiet, he became a vocal leader on the team by his final year. Coach Harbaugh emphasized that he never doubted Martin’s physical or mental toughness, and he believes that Martin can continue to have a successful career in the NFL. Coach Harbaugh also said that the atmosphere in the Stanford locker room, in his view, was not materially different from that of the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room.”

[RELATED: Inquiry says Incognito, two others harassed Martin]

During the season, Harbaugh publicly supported Martin, too.

"I know (Martin) to be a fine person, and his family," Harbaugh said in November. "A great contributor as a student and as an athlete at Stanford. Epitomized the student-athlete model. And (he’s) a personal friend. So I support Jonathan."