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February 14, 2014
Harbaugh: Jonathan Martin can resume successful NFL career

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The Ted Wells report, which details "a pattern of harassment" among Dolphins offensive linemen, included an interview with Jonathan Martin's former coach at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh. Both Harbaugh and current Stanford coach David Shaw said that Martin fit in well inside the Stanford locker room.

"(Harbaugh), 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," the independent report says. "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."

The full report can be read here.

It says that while there was ribbing inside the Stanford locker room and that Martin dealt with bouts of mild depression, he felt comfortable there. Furthermore, Harbaugh told Wells that he didn't think the 49ers' locker room was all that different than Stanford's.

"Although initially quiet, he became a vocal leader on the team by his final year," the report reads. "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."

This, of course, makes San Francisco a possible landing spot should Martin return to the NFL. Martin played left tackle at Stanford and was a second-round pick by the Dolphins in 2012. As I wrote earlier this month, however, the 49ers do not have a big need along the offensive line. Still, they could use a young, backup tackle who can play both the right and left sides, which Martin has done. Furthermore, Martin currently is taking classes at Stanford.

Martin left the Dolphins during the 2013 season but is still under contract with them. For another team to acquire him, the Dolphins would have to release Martin or work out a trade with that team.

When allegations of bullying inside the Dolphins locker room first broke in November, Harbaugh called Martin a "personal friend."

"As far as that situation, there's only one thing I can intelligently comment on and that's knowing Jonathan Martin," Harbaugh said on Nov. 6. "I know him to be a fine person and his family. (He was a) great contributor as a student and an athlete at Stanford, epitomizes the student-athlete model and a personal friend. I support Jonathan."

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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