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HOUSTON -- Tackle Jonathan Martin re-established himself as an NFL football player this summer.
And that’s what the Stanford product set out to accomplish with the 49ers after being sent back to the Bay Area in a March trade with the Miami Dolphins for a conditional 2015 seventh-round draft pick.
“My mantra all along has been to control the controllables,” Martin said before leaving the locker room Thursday night following the 49ers’ 40-13 victory over the Houston Texans in the exhibition finale.
“I wanted to stay focused on what I could do to give myself the best chance as possible to make this team. I think I did a good job of that, and whatever happens, happens. I’ll be happy going forward.”
Martin got off to a rough start in the first two weeks of training camp and in the exhibition opener against the Baltimore Ravens. He still appeared to be lacking core strength after missing three weeks of the offseason program with mononucleosis.
But Martin seemed to show marked improvement every week after that. He filled in for right tackle Anthony Davis, who is expected to return for the Sept. 7 season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys after offseason shoulder surgery.
“There was rustiness,” Martin said. “It had been since October that I played football. I missed three weeks, so that’s some of the reps I missed during spring. Maybe it took an extra week or so to get back in the swing of things. But I feel real confident in my ability at both tackle spots.
“I think I played pretty well, for the most part. There are some things to clean up. I have to remain confident, think faster, get this playbook down. I’m just trying to improve each game, and I think I did a decent job of doing that.”
Martin started all 23 games in which he appeared for the Dolphins over his first two seasons. Martin took a leave of absence last season, as he became the center of a bullying scandal that rocked the NFL last season.
The NFL hired Ted Wells to conduct an investigation, which determined then-Dolphins guard Richie Incognito and two other offensive linemen engaged in persistent harassment of Martin, another offensive lineman and an assistant trainer.
Martin hoped to leave the past behind when he came to the 49ers. And that is what he accomplished. He appeared to have no problems fitting into the 49ers' locker room. And he is the leading candidate to open the season as the 49ers’ top backup at both tackle positions.
“I’ve done it before in college, but it’s been a while,” Martin said. “I just have to make sure I’m warm and ready to go whenever I have to go.”