Jonathan Martin said he's exchanged texts with one new linemate, Joe Staley, and had a Twitter conversation with another, Anthony Davis. "I can tell already that I'm going to get along just great with those guys," said Martin, whose trade from the Dolphins to the 49ers became official this afternoon. "I felt a warm welcome from the entire 49ers community, fanbase, coaching staff, everybody."
That warmth, of course, is in stark contrast to the messy ordeal Martin went through with the Dolphins, the team that drafted him in the second round two years ago. Martin left the squad in October amid allegations of hazing inside the locker room, especially from his fellow linemen. The details - often salacious, vulgar and ugly - were recently laid out in a 144-page, independent report commissioned by the NFL.
In a conference call with reporters today, Martin was determined not to wade into the past. Asked if he felt any regrets about what happened last year, he said, "You can say, 'This or that could have gone differently,' but hindsight is 20-20," he said. "My focus is 100 percent on the future and moving forward." Asked what he would say to those who think he broke a locker-room code and should have toughed it out, he said, "I'm not worried about that. All that's in the past at this point."
Instead he said he was looking forward to joining his new team. Ever since he left the Dolphins, the 49ers seemed like a probable landing spot. Jim Harbaugh, who recruited Martin out of North Hollywood, Calif. when Harbaugh was coaching Stanford, called Martin a "personal friend" when news of Martin's absence first broke five months ago. Harbaugh also spoke highly and confidently of Martin in the independent report.
After leaving Miami, Martin went back to Stanford to train and to finish his degree in Classics. The campus is a 15-minute drive from the 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara and Harbaugh's top two assistants, Vic Fangio and Greg Roman, also were with Harbaugh when Martin was at Stanford.
The 49ers even appear to have a spot on the roster for Martin, who started 23 games at left or right tackle for the Dolphins. They have been looking for a so-called "swing tackle" who can step in if either Staley or Davis is injured. Last year, right guard Alex Boone had that role. "It's a blank slate for me," Martin said. "I'm looking forward to revitalizing my career, getting going."
The 49ers dealt a conditional seventh-round pick to Miami for Martin. If he's not on the team's 53-man roster in September, the 49ers don't owe the Dolphins anything.
As a Classics major, Martin has studied the Greek gods, read Plato and is currently reading about Odysseus' long, perilous journey home from the Trojan War. Does he feel a little like the main character?
"I like that analogy," Martin said. "... I do feel like I'm at home. I feel like I'm back in California, back around the people I know. And I'm looking forward to playing football again in a month."
-- Matt Barrows