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Dolphins' Tannehill says changes will be made to team culture

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The Canadian Press
2/24/2014 5:43:14 PM
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DAVIE, Fla. - Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill says he read only few pages of the investigative report on the team's bullying scandal, but he's confident the necessary changes will be made to ensure a healthy locker room environment.

Tannehill, a starter since the first game of his rookie season in 2012, said he's ready to help by taking on more leadership.

Speaking Monday at a celebrity golf tournament organized by former Dolphins star Jason Taylor, Tannehill made his first public comments regarding the 144-page report released Feb. 14. Investigators found that guard Richie Incognito and two other offensive linemen engaged in persistent harassment directed at tackle Jonathan Martin, another offensive lineman and an assistant trainer.

"I saw a few pages of it," Tannehill said. "I got overwhelmed by 140-and-whatever pages and skipped it. I'm just glad it's out. The evaluations and summaries have been made, the points have been taken and now we can move forward. There's no more being anxious about it coming out. We've had the consequences and repercussions, and now we can put it in the past and move forward."

The Dolphins fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and longtime head athletic trainer Kevin O'Neill for their roles in the scandal, and coach Joe Philbin pledged to improve the workplace culture.

NFL punishment of players who engaged in harassment may be forthcoming in the form of fines, suspensions or both. Tannehill could find him playing behind an entirely new line to start the 2014 season.

Even so, he considers fallout from the scandal in the past.

"I think it's behind us at this point," he said. "Obviously we'll try to learn from it and correct things Coach Philbin and the coaching staff feel need to be changed. We want to have a healthy locker room."

Tannehill was a member of the team's leadership council last season, but at 25, he said he's still growing into the role of a leader.

"You definitely get more comfortable speaking up at certain times," he said. "You have the respect. That's the big thing — having the other guys' respect in the locker room. You can't come in with no respect and try to own the place. At this point hopefully I have some respect in the locker room, and now I can assert myself."

Taylor is part of an advisory group formed last fall by team owner Stephen Ross that also includes Tony Dungy, Don Shula, Dan Marino and Curtis Martin. The group, which has yet to meet, will review organizational conduct policies and make recommendations on areas for improvement.

"We have all seen the report," Taylor said. "We know what it says. In the coming days and weeks we will have a discussion about it, and that discussion will stay between me, Mr. Ross and the other members of the committee."

Ryan Tannehill (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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