Skip to main content

Dolphins quarterback: Richie Incognito saw Jonathan Martin as 'little brother'

By Steve Almasy, CNN
November 7, 2013 -- Updated 2207 GMT (0607 HKT)
The Miami Dolphins have suspended Pro Bowl offensive lineman Richie Incognito following <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/04/us/nfl-dolphins-richie-incognito-suspended/index.html'>allegations of misconduct</a> from teammate Jonathan Martin. Incognito played for the University of Nebraska before he was drafted in 2005 by the St. Louis Rams. He also played for the Buffalo Bills in 2009 before joining the Dolphins in 2010. The Miami Dolphins have suspended Pro Bowl offensive lineman Richie Incognito following allegations of misconduct from teammate Jonathan Martin. Incognito played for the University of Nebraska before he was drafted in 2005 by the St. Louis Rams. He also played for the Buffalo Bills in 2009 before joining the Dolphins in 2010.
HIDE CAPTION
Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Team is taking situation seriously, will cooperate with NFL's investigation
  • Father says Jonathan Martin is a strong man, doing fine
  • Quarterback says Incognito messed with Martin, but also came to his aid
  • Coach has no comment on report team asked Incognito to toughen up Martin

(CNN) -- Richie Incognito considered fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin a "little brother," Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill said Wednesday, saying the team was caught off-guard by Martin's accusations of misconduct against his teammate.

Neither player is with the team now; Martin left abruptly last week after an incident in the team cafeteria and Incognito was suspended on Sunday after Martin's representatives reportedly turned over voice mails and texts with racial slurs and threats of violence to the Dolphins and the NFL.

But, while they were with the team, the two were good friends. At least in Tannehill's mind.

"I think if you had asked Jon Martin a week before who his best friend on the team was, he would have said Richie Incognito," the quarterback told reporters. "The first guy to stand up for Jonathan if anything went down on the field, any kind of tussle, Richie was the first guy there. When they wanted to hang out ... outside of football, who was together: Richie and Jonathan. So I can't, I'm not in those guys' shoes. I can't explain what's going on."

Tannehill, a second-year quarterback, said Martin was a quiet guy who made a few jokes but was mostly business. His demeanor remained the same even up to the night he left the team after other players played a prank on him in the dining hall.

"There were no warning signs," he said.

Tannehill said he had exchanged recent texts with Martin, once on the night the offensive tackle left and then on Friday, the day after the Dolphins beat the Bengals.

"I miss being out there," Martin said, according to Tannehill.

The entertainment show omg! Insider talked to Martin's father on Wednesday.

"He's a strong man. He's doing fine," Gus Martin said.

The league office is investigating Martin's claims of misconduct. On Wednesday, Commissioner Roger Goodell chose Ted Wells to lead the inquiry. Wells also participated in an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment at Syracuse in 2012 and one that led to a change in the head of the NBA players union earlier this year.

"He has an impeccable reputation and we look forward to fully cooperating with the review," Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said in a written statement. "We take this situation seriously. As the owner, I am committed to creating a professional environment for all of the members of the Dolphins family."

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin repeated his assertion that he will institute change if the NFL report finds his staff at fault.

"If the review reveals anything that needs to be corrected we will take all necessary measures to fix it, to ensure that this doesn't happen again," he said.

Philbin said he had no comment on a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Dolphins coaches asked Incognito to help toughen up Martin, a 24-year-old second-year player.

"Jonathan Martin came in here and worked hard every single day," he said in response to a followup question.

The team hasn't met to discuss the situation, Tannehill said, but it was widely discussed the first few days by players in the cafeteria and in the locker room.

Incognito's actions a behavior pattern?
Ricky Williams: NFL not for everyone
Reports: NFL player left racist messages

The allegations of bullying and racially charged language were "mind-blowing" to the team, he said. As a quarterback and a team leader he would have done something if he saw something that crossed the line, he said. No one knew there was a situation to be stopped, he added.

Incognito, a nine-year veteran, treated Martin like a "little brother."

"He gave him a hard time, he messed with him, but he was the first one there to have his back in any situation," Tannehill said.

Offensive tackle Tyson Clabo said the two were "thick as thieves."

"They went out together, they hung out together," he said. "They did a lot of stuff together, so if (Martin) had a problem with the way that (Incognito) was treating him, he had a funny way of showing it."

Incognito, 30, has only said a few words since he was suspended.

"You know, I'm just trying to weather the storm right now. And this will pass," he told CNN affiliate WSVN outside a doctor's office in Weston, Florida, on Tuesday.

Incognito said he didn't want to comment on media reports that he sent Martin voice mails containing racial slurs and threats of physical violence. When asked about his status with the team, Incognito closed the door to his BMW without answering and drove away.

ESPN, NFL.com and other media outlets reported that representatives for Martin on Sunday submitted the voice mails and texts to the league and the Dolphins. One of the messages, from April, contained a reference to Martin's biracial background, according to ESPN's sources.

"Hey, wassup, you half (expletive) piece of (expletive). I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. I'll (expletive) in your (expletive) mouth. I'm gonna slap your (expletive) mouth, I'm gonna slap your real mother across the face (laughter). (Expletive) you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."

Martin remains on the team's roster while Incognito is on the suspended list.

CNN reached out multiple times to representatives for each player but hasn't received comment.

Richie Incognito, Jonathan Martin, and the NFL's future

CNN's Ed Lavandera and Quand Thomas contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
U.S. Sport
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
Jason Collins became the first openly gay man to play in the NBA, wearing a Brooklyn Nets uniform in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1401 GMT (2201 HKT)
USA Today called Madison Rising's performance of the "Star Spangled Banner" prior to a NASCAR race "spectacularly awful."
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 1513 GMT (2313 HKT)
A great football team combines inherent violence with a certain order, always imposed by the coaches and team leaders.
February 9, 2014 -- Updated 1645 GMT (0045 HKT)
New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, who received a 162-game doping suspension, withdraws his subsequent lawsuits.
When the Super Bowl kicks off in New Jersey, photographer John Biever was there. Just as he was for all of the 47 other Super Bowls.
January 29, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
A cricket club based in Compton has turned neighborhood boys into gentlemen on the pitch. CNN's Paul Vercammen reports.
Music is becoming an increasingly big part of sport, whether on TV or at the stadiums -- but what does it add, asks CNN's Don Riddell?
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1450 GMT (2250 HKT)
What is life really like for a gay sports star after they come out? U.S. footballer Robbie Rogers tells all.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1326 GMT (2126 HKT)
Phoenix Mercury basketball star, Brittney Griner talks to CNN about navigating the pressures of high school as a lesbian.
January 12, 2014 -- Updated 1436 GMT (2236 HKT)
Dennis Rodman has defended his "basketball diplomacy" trip to North Korea. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar offers his take.
January 13, 2014 -- Updated 1816 GMT (0216 HKT)
Mike Tyson reveals the stories behind his staggering rise and fall - and just what he was thinking when he bit that ear.
ADVERTISEMENT