Former Dolphins offensive lineman Lydon Murtha gave an insider's look at some of the issues surrounding the alleged bullying scandal involving teammates Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin in Miami.
Murtha, now retired after playing for the Dolphins from 2009 through the 2012 preseason, wrote a piece for the Monday Morning Quarterback website and said there were misconceptions about some of the details being reported.
After first identifying himself as a teammate of Incognito's at Nebraska and saying he was friends with both men, Murtha said Martin, a rookie in the preseason of 2012, "did not seem to want to be one of the group," adding that he "came off as standoffish and shy to the rest of the offensive linemen."
Murtha, though, said Incognito took Martin under his wing since they were both set to play the left side of the line.
"They were close friends by all appearances," Murtha wrote. "Martin had a tendency to tank when things would get difficult in practice, and Incognito would lift him up. He'd say, 'there's always tomorrow.' Richie has been more kind to Martin than any other player."
However, Murtha added that Incognito would sometimes get on Martin if he wasn't showing effort. But he would do the same with any player who appeared to slack off.
Murtha said he doesn't believe that Incognito bullied Martin, adding that the nine-year veteran joked with everybody on the team, including coaches. The voicemail that included the racial slur, however, is the reason Murtha believes that Incognito was suspended, although he heard Incognito call Martin the same thing to his face and Martin just laughed.
As far as the coaches not knowing about the so-called hazing, Murtha said that was untrue.
"That's the most outlandish lie of this whole thing," Murtha wrote. "The coaches know everything. The coaches know who's getting picked on and in many cases call for that player to be singled out. Any type of denial on that side is ridiculous."
Murtha said coaches did, indeed, ask team leaders to "bring (Martin) out of his shell. Figure him out a little bit."
There was a report in the South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper on Tuesday that said Incognito was instructed by coaches to "toughen up" his fellow lineman after Martin missed a voluntary workout in the spring, but that Incognito may have taken the orders too far.
Murtha said that might have been a problem for Incognito because he might not have been able to tell that Martin wouldn't be able to handle the derision.
A number of current teammates on Wednesday indicated they were surprised by the recent developments between Incognito and Martin.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill described the two as brothers, saying Martin was "like Richie's little brother. He gave him a hard time, he messed with him, but he was the first guy to have his back."
The NFL is set to begin an investigation into the workplace conduct in the Dolphins organization and head coach Joe Philbin on Wednesday wouldn't comment beyond saying the team will take measures to fix any problems the NFL may find.