Martin, Incognito return unlikely

Updated: January 29, 2014, 6:05 PM ET
By James Walker | ESPN.com

DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins suffered through a national controversy during their 2013 bullying scandal involving teammates Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito.

The situation put the Dolphins in a bad light and caused a huge distraction during their 8-8 season.

During a news conference Tuesday, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was asked whether either player would return to the team in 2014.

"I don't believe so," he said.

Ross quickly tried to backtrack, but his first answer was already out.

"Well, I can't say that. Therefore, I retract that," Ross said, laughing. "One is a free agent, by the way; the other is on our roster."

This is no surprise, as Miami played without both players during the second half of the season. Incognito will become an unrestricted free agent in March. Martin, who has two years remaining on his rookie contract, was looked down upon by some in Miami's locker room for making the situation public.

Martin said Tuesday in an interview with NBC's Tony Dungy that he felt "trapped" by the repeated bullying but that he hoped to return to the NFL.

Dungy was also part of a task force set up by Ross to improve the culture within the Dolphins' locker room. Also in that group were Don Shula, Dan Marino, Jason Taylor and Curtis Martin.

Some Dolphins players made it clear that Martin was not welcomed back. The NFL and lead investigator Ted Wells have interviewed both sides and are expected to release a report about the incident after the Super Bowl, according to Ross.

"I have an idea what's in it," Ross said. "I have been in communication with the NFL and spoken with Ted Wells, who is handling the investigation. I haven't seen the report. I don't know exactly its conclusions.

"Let's put it this way, I don't want to really speculate. When it comes out, we will do what has to be done. But in my mind, I know what has to be done. Stay tuned."

Information from ESPN.com's Ashley Fox and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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