Black and Blue Review

Black and Blue Review

Carolina Panthers News and Coverage for the Digital Age

Panthers in a Pickle After Jonathan Martin’s Retirement

Every Carolina Panthers’ player who was supposed to report for the start of training camp Thursday did. Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin didn’t, even though he was still on the roster.The 25-year-old unexpectedly decided to retire earlier this week, but as of Thursday afternoon, that paperwork had not gone through with the league. That’s a formality, though. Martin’s short time with the Panthers is done.“Any time a guy retires a couple days before the start of training camp, I think it would always be somewhat surprising. But everybody has to do what they think is in their best interest,” tight end Greg Olsen said. “There’s no hard feelings. We get it. If you think you’re time is up, it’s better off to walk away on your own terms and move forward.”After the Panthers picked him up off waivers in March, Martin participated in every practice this spring. His sudden retirement was explained by a previously unreported back injury that would have required surgery.According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, Martin injured himself during a recent workout. It’s unclear if he then kept the Panthers in the loop.When asked if he had any indication before Monday that Martin was dealing with a serious ailment, general manager Dave Gettleman said, “I’m not going to go there.”He later added, “He participated [in offseason workouts] and left here fine.”Martin, who was the central victim in the Dolphins’ 2013 bullying scandal, was trying to resurrect his career in Carolina. After Miami had traded him to the 49ers last offseason, he was released this spring.The Panthers plugged Martin in as Michael Oher’s backup at left tackle, and while the duo each had question marks, they both brought much-needed experience. Now that position’s depth is a problem.”It puts a greater importance on any of the backups at tackle as far as we’re concerned,” coach Ron Rivera said. “We feel like we have some veteran guys who are in good position that can be starters for us, and they’re going to be starters for us. The question going into this is who’s going to backup left tackle.”The Panthers will now shuffle through a handful of guys as they look for an answer.Nate Chandler, who lost a training camp battle to Bryon Bell last year, will get a shot. So will guard Amini Silatolu, who played left tackle in college. Even rookie Daryl Williams, who spent nearly his entire career at Oklahoma on the right side, will get a look.But who will initially line up behind Oher during Friday night’s first practice?”I don’t know. It won’t be me,” Gettleman said. “You’ve got to let them get on the field and play it out.”

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