- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Jonathan Martin tweeted Tuesday night that he appreciated getting another NFL opportunity.
I’m sure he realizes this is his best chance at a comeback.
If the talented, embattled offensive tackle is going to salvage his career, it will be in San Francisco. The 49ers did Martin a favor and acquired the gifted swing tackle by executing a trade with the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday night. Martin was acquired for a conditional draft pick.
While there hasn’t been much talk recently, this has made sense for some time. I wrote that would be a perfect pairing last month.
Martin, who was at the center of a bullying saga in Miami, has a built-in support system in San Francisco as he tries to get his career back on track. He played for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and several of his assistants when they were at Stanford. Martin has reportedly been taking classes at Stanford, which is a short drive from the team’s headquarters. So, personally, he will be surrounded by friends as well.
Harbaugh has been a champion for Martin. He vouched for Martin in the Wells report that examined the bullying case. Harbaugh said in the report he thought Martin could have a successful NFL career. He also said this publicly during the November firestorm: “As far as that situation, there’s only one thing I can intelligently comment on and that’s knowing Jonathan Martin. I know him to be a fine person and his family. [Martin was a] great contributor as a student and an athlete at Stanford, epitomizes the student-athlete model and a personal friend. I support Jonathan.”
Now, Harbaugh will coach him again and I’m sure that will inspire Martin. As part of the Wells report, Martin told friends he wanted to stick with football because he didn’t want to disappoint his former coaches. Now, he is around those men again.
Martin’s presence in the 49ers’ locker room won't likely cause a ripple.
The 49ers boast a stable, veteran-led locker room. Several 49ers players condemned the Miami situation while it was happening. The San Francisco offensive line is a close-knit, easy-going group. I doubt Martin will have trouble fitting in. In fact, 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis welcomed Martin via Twitter on Tuesday night.
Where will Martin fit in San Francisco on the field? The team is set with starting tackles Joe Staley and Davis. But tackle is a premium position and Martin, a former second-round pick, can be a top backup option.
The 49ers got better Tuesday night and Martin got his best chance for football redemption.