Allen Kee/ESPN Images(TAMPA, Fla.) — The running back once nicknamed “the muscle hamster” will be looking for a new home next season. Tuesday the Buccaneers announced they release running back Doug Martin. Martin was due to make seven million dollars next season.
Martin burst onto the scene in 2012 as a first round draft pick out of Boise State and amassed 1,454 yards on the ground and 11 rushing touchdowns in 16 games played. He only played a combined 17 games in 2013 and 2014, but came back with another 1,400 rushing yard season in 2015, where he once again played all 16 games.
In the last two years, however, Martin only played in 19 games and ran for a combined 827 yards. He also had some off the field issues, being suspended at the end of 2016 for four games for violating the NFL’s drug policy, which carried over into the start of last season. As a result, the Buccaneers weren’t on the hook for any of the $15 million of guaranteed money in the five-year, $35.75 million deal he signed in 2016.
He only averaged 2.9 yards per carry in 2017, was a healthy scartch against Saints in Week 15 for violating a team rule, and was benched in favor of second-year running back Peyton Barber at the end of the year.
“I want to thank the Glazer family, Jason Licht, Coach Koetter, Coach Schiano, Mark Dominik, and the Tampa Bay organization,” the 29-year-old said on his Instagram. “You made my childhood dream of being an NFL player come to fruition when you drafted me and you afforded me financial independence when you awarded me my second contract. I am grateful for the impact you have had on my life.”
Despite his struggles lately, Martin says he’s ready for the 2018 season. “I am in the best shape of my life physically and mentally and my best football is ahead of me,” he said. “I look forward to the next stage of my career, while wishing everyone in Tampa Bay the very best.”
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