Indianapolis Colts: Richie Incognito

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jonathan Martin's connection to the Indianapolis Colts will continue to draw attention as long as signs continue to point to Martin and the Miami Dolphins parting ways.

Martin was teammates with Andrew Luck, Griff Whalen, Delano Howell and Coby Fleener at Stanford. Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was also on staff at Stanford.

Fleener spoke out about Martin after the Ted Wells' report was released earlier this month. Then Luck told Pro Football Talk in an interview earlier this week that he would be in favor of the Colts adding Martin, who was bullied by Richie Incognito and two other teammates with the Dolphins.

“I'd say I love Jon, we had a great time at Stanford together, still stay in touch with him regularly and I think he's a great man,” Luck said.

Miami is expected to trade or release Martin at some point during the offseason.

There's zero doubt that the Colts would welcome Martin inside the locker room. That's how they are and why they've been able to overcome different obstacles each of the past two seasons.

But trading for Martin is not an option. He is a tackle. Indianapolis is set at tackle with Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus. The Colts need help at guard and center.

The Colts could try to sign Martin to be a backup tackle if the Dolphins release him.

Still, chatter about Martin and the Colts will remain until he finds his next team.
INDIANAPOLIS -- At some point, offensive lineman Jonathan Martin and the Miami Dolphins will part ways from what's turned into a disastrous relationship.

And when that happens, whatever team acquires Martin next will be getting a hard-working player, according to one of his former teammates at Stanford.

"He's physical at the line of scrimmage, smart guy, understands the offense well," Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener said. "I think he would be a great teammate for anybody to have."

Ted Wells' report last week determined that Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito and two of his teammates bullied Martin.

Fleener stayed in touch with Martin via text message.

"I didn't really look at it as who was going to be wrong and who was going to be right, I just wanted the best for Jonathan regardless of who was wrong or right," Fleener said. "I didn't talk to him about the specifics or anything like that because I felt like it wasn't my place. If he wanted to talk about it that was fine. I really just wanted to make sure he was doing alright."

Martin has ties with a number of Colts.

He and Fleener, receiver Griff Whalen, quarterback Andrew Luck, safety Delano Howell and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton were all together at Stanford.

The Colts are in need of help on the interior part of the offensive line. But Martin plays tackle and the Colts are set there with Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus.

"I don't really campaign for anybody," Fleener said. "I think that's up to our GM [Ryan Grigson] and coaching staff. They've done an awesome job putting together the team. If Coach [Chuck Pagano] or Mr. Grigson asked me, I would have nothing but support for Jonathan."
INDIANAPOLIS -- Rick Venturi isn’t surprised that Ted Wells’ report determined that Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito and two of his teammates bullied fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin.

Venturi knows all about Incognito’s aggressive style.

The former Indianapolis Colts coach was on the St. Louis Rams’ staff when Incognito played there.

“He’s a runaway train,” Venturi said Friday. “When we had him, and I think actually for a while in terms of his actual on the field stuff, I actually think he improved in Miami. But for us, he was selfish, he was loud, tried to intimidate. It was just his style. I say selfish, from the standpoint that he was highly penalized. He cost us games, cost us yardage. I was never a fan of his.”

Venturi, who spent two seasons with Incognito in St. Louis, said the Dolphins were going to have problems because Incognito was looked at as one of their leaders.

“I’m shocked to the degree of this thing with the racial words,” Venturi said. “But as far as Incognitio being in the middle of it, it doesn’t shock me he was in the middle of any kind of intimidating type of behavior. To ever allow him to become a leader on your team, I really question that. You’re destined to have problems if he’s your leader.”

It boils down, according to Venturi, that Incognito is a selfish player who only thinks about himself. The lineman had a history of getting personal fouls while with the Rams.

“When he was with us he was loud, abrasive and he got us in trouble every other down with penalties,” Venturi said. “I always think those types of penalties after a while are selfish because it’s all about you, it’s not about the team. People saying he’s protecting players and things like that, that got nauseating. The sad part is he’s a very talented football player. He didn’t make the Pro Bowl for nothing. He just carries baggage you don’t want to handle.”
 This was one of the questions I received for the Colts mailbag last week. I had to check in with Dolphins reporter James Walker to get a better indication of what Martin’s status is with the team before discussing him. Walker said the expectations are for the Dolphins to part ways with Martin in some fashion but of course there's no guarantee of that.

Let’s go ahead and assume the Dolphins find a way to go in a different direction with Martin. He would have to slide to guard because the Colts are set at tackle with Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus, who both had good seasons.

One thing you do have to worry about: Will there be any players inside the locker room who question Martin's toughness? That may be the case in most locker rooms.

There’s obviously the Stanford connection with Andrew Luck, Griff Whalen, Coby Fleener and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. They all spoke highly of Martin publicly and privately when asked about him after the news broke about what was reportedly happening in Miami between him and Richie Incognito. The Colts approach their locker room with a family attitude and the players respect Luck, so his voice and opinion carries a lot of weight. So I don't think there would be any issues with Martin and the Colts. It would be a good fit if he can play guard.

But as of right now, Martin is still a member of the Miami Dolphins.
INDIANAPOLIS – Hazing inside locker rooms or baseball clubhouses isn’t anything new. It's been around quite some time. Rookies often have to sing in front of their teammates during training, carry helmets and shoulder pads throughout the season or bring doughnuts in the morning.

But that’s the extent of things inside the Indianapolis Colts’ locker room. And it’s not because of the accusations of what’s being reported in Miami with guard Richie Incognito and teammate Jonathan Martin.

This goes back to when Tony Dungy started coaching the team in 2002.

“When he was here, he was all about there would be none of the rookie hazing type stuff and it’s continued that way,” veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri said. “We’ve got a group of older veteran guys that don’t believe in dumb stuff and that’s the way it is.”

Having fun and cracking jokes in the locker room is expected amongst teammates. Players often joke about the type of music some of their teammates listen to or their clothing choices. But it’s all in fun. Something you would do with your close friends. The Colts are around each other on almost a daily basis from the end of July until the season ends in January or February. You can even argue that they spend more time with each other than with their own families.

But it doesn’t go overboard -- the way it’s reportedly happened in Miami -- with the Colts.

“Guys in this locker room understand what hazing is,” said cornerback Vontae Davis, who spent his first three seasons with the Dolphins. “When you can’t distinguish taking advantage of somebody from just cracking jokes, you’re not being reliable as a veteran. We know how to distinguish if we’re taking advantage of somebody or not. We hold each other accountable. We’re a big family.”

Davis declined to comment about what’s going on in Miami. Quarterback Andrew Luck, receiver Griff Whalen and tight end Coby Fleener were teammates with Martin at Stanford.

Fleener said he’s exchanged text messages with Martin but declined to go into specifics on what they talked about. He did, however, stick up for his former teammate when a reporter said Martin has a reputation for not being tough.

“I think that’s a stupid, stupid statement,” Fleener said. “If somebody wants to dispute that, I’d be happy to talk to them. It’s neither here nor there. It’s not really something that we’re focused on.”

Dungy was on The Dan Patrick Show earlier this week and said they had warning flags about Icognito coming out of Nebraska in 2005. The Colts had him on the “DNDC” list, which means do not draft because of character issues.

The Colts have a brotherhood in the locker room. There’s mutual respect from the veterans down to the rookies to the training and equipment staff. Veterans like Robert Mathis, Cory Redding and Antoine Bethea make sure they stay together and keep their focus on winning.

“If you see something that’s not right, you take care of it,” Vinatieri said. “That’s just the way it is. It doesn’t have to be an old guy to a rookie or a rookie to rookie. There’s no disrespect allowed around here from coaches to players, from players to coaches, to other staff, to the cleaning crew. If anybody gets that way, it gets shot down pretty quickly.”