Bucs’ General Manager Jason Licht can take a lesson from Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, in the Doug Martin case. Don’t be so quick to get rid of one of your better players. Just ask Yzerman about Jonathan Drouin. The public uproar after Martin was suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, was clear… Martin was done, he had played his last game in a Buc’ uniform, he was injury-prone, and now had substance-abuse problems… time to dump him. Not so fast!
Don’t Dump Doug Yet
Doug Martin will turn 28 years old in a few weeks, so he still has some tread left on his tires. True, he has been injury prone in 3 of his 5 NFL seasons. But when he’s healthy, he’s still very good. He has admitted to an abuse problem and is now in rehab. The NFL Network reported it was Adderall, but no one on the Bucs has confirmed that.
Remember Jonathan Drouin, and his agent’s demand to be traded? The general uproar was similar… get rid of that ungrateful upstart kid, he doesn’t deserve to be on the Lightning. But Steve Yzerman didn’t listen to the masses. He waited for the dust to settle, for tempers to settle down, refused to give away an extremely talented player, and eventually Drouin grew up a little. And now the Lightning have a budding star as a top-6 forward.
Jason Licht, take the same road with Doug Martin. Don’t do anything rash. He’s still under contract, and now maybe a more team-friendly contract. See how he comes out of rehab. When healthy, and if he’s clean, he can still play.
Now, Jason, don’t hesitate to take a running back, or two, in the Draft. You can never have enough good running backs. But if you’re patient with Doug Martin in this off-season, and he comes around, he could be that dominant running back you’re looking for.
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