Doug Martin Reportedly Returns to Buccaneers Following Rehab Stint

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2017

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 18:  Doug Martin #22 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers carries the ball during the first half against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin returned to the team and is participating in offseason conditioning following a stint in rehab.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the news.

Martin, 28, completed his time in a rehabilitation facility in February. He checked in after being suspended four games last December for a violation of the NFL's drug policy.

Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht and coach Dirk Koetter met with Martin a week before the scouting combine.

"He looked good. He sounded good," Koetter said, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. "I'm proud of Doug for taking steps to get his health back. Doug's under contract. He was going to head back out to California to train. We tell the players, come back in April and then we'll see where it goes from there."

Martin's future with the Bucs is anything but secure. Licht told Stroud the Bucs "have some time" before having to decide on whether to keep the former Pro Bowler, who has played his entire five-year career in Tampa.

On Monday, Licht told reporters the decision on Martin's future will be based on what's best for the team and won't be based solely on finances.

Martin's suspension gave Tampa an opportunity to get out from under the $7 million in guarantees earmarked for the running back in 2017. He had signed a five-year, $35.75 million contract before last season after Martin rushed for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns in a breakout 2015.

That performance level was nowhere to be found a year later as Martin was limited to eight games due to injury and suspension and was one of the NFL's worst backs when on the field. His 2.9 yards per carry was the worst number among qualifying running backs, and Football Outsiders' DVOA metric had Martin 40th among 42 qualifiers.

A number of running backs sit with first- or second-round grades ahead of April's draft, so Martin's future may be determined by whether one of them lands in Tampa.

 

For more news, rumors and related stories about Doug Martin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NFL, check out the NFL and Buccaneers streams on Bleacher Report's app.

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